Twenty-one billion pounds of toxic chemicals are released into our environment by industries every single year and that amount is only increasing. That means, every single second 310 kilograms of toxic chemicals are released around the world and we are seeing the damage it is doing to our fragile environment.
With all the toxic chemicals being released into the environment, it is bound to have an impact on certain animals. In this blog, I will be talking about the specific impacts it has on polar bears. Toxic chemicals are defined as substances that cause severe illness, poisoning, birth defects, disease or death if it is ingested, inhaled or absorbed by a living organism. This is especially a problem for polar bears because they are at the top of their food chain, which means they are consuming much more chemicals than, for example, the fish they are consuming. The Arctic is not a huge industrial area where huge amounts of chemicals are expected. The problem starts from every other area of the world because the toxic chemicals from the industrial world are being transported to the Arctic through sea and air currents. Polar bears, as the top predators, then consume huge amounts of these toxic chemicals, which leads to severe health problems or death.
A group of polar bears in the Arctic.
Research and the Affects on Polar Bears
Research is currently being done in the Arctic to understand fully the impact toxic chemicals are having on polar bears. So far, the studies have found the chemicals cause diseases in the polar bears but do not cause immediate death. Instead, the chemicals damage the bone and organ structure of the polar bears, which leads to farther problems for the animals. Researchers have specifically noticed problems to polar bears immune system and their reproductive system, the two most important systems for the species to avoid extinction. Christian Sonne, from Aarhus University, was one of the researchers who took tissue samples from 100 Greenland polar bears to understand specific trends. He noticed that the problems affecting polar bears seem to be affecting Arctic foxes and dogs. This is going to be a continuing problem for that region and immediate action will have to be taken to help a dying specie.
University of Copenhagen. "Polar bears ill from accumulated environmental toxins."ScienceDaily, 13 Oct. 2011. Web. 26 Oct. 2011. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111013121709.htm
"Toxic Chemicals released by industries - Worldometers."Worldometers - real time world statistics. Web. 26 Oct. 2011. http://www.worldometers.info/view/toxchem/
Riedel, Charlie. "EcoToaD | Environmental News and Tips from a Toad's Perspective." EcoToaD | Environmental News and Tips from a Toad's Perspective. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2011. <http://ecotoad.org>.
"Christian Sonne - Research - Aarhus University." PURE. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2011. <http://firstname.lastname@example.org