The waters of our Northern Hemisphere are deadly. Toxics are carried to them by a polluted mantle of air containing hundreds of millions of molecules per breath full of persistent pesticides such as chlordane, toxaphene, Dieldrin, PCBs, Lindane, hexachlorobenzene, and DDT. Human health and wildlife survival continues to suffer from chemicals that were long banned because they promoted human cancer or caused acute environmental devastation.These highly chlorinated, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) circulate with global weather and distribute around the globe according to their volatility. Lindane, relatively volatile, was found in the Arctic Ocean at 40 times the concentration of ocean waters near its temperate region uses. PCBs smear out through the mid latitudes and decrease towards the north. Toxaphene and chlordane settle in north of PCBs. They must be stopped.
The Human Effect:
Everyone: Researchers continue to connect the presence of low levels of POPs with diabetes, cancer, asthma and other diseases. Is it surprising to find that chemicals designed to destroy life may be interfering with human health?
Inuit: POPs enter the food chain at the microscopic level and remain in the fat of living creatures, bioaccumulating up the food chain to the point that the fat of Arctic narwhal and beluga whales would be classified as hazardous waste. Inuit of Northern Canada and Greenland, who consume this fat as well as that of seals, polar bear and walrus as a portion of their diet, are highly contaminated. Canadian Inuit women of child bearing age consume 14 times the tolerable daily intake (TDI) of chlordane, toxaphene, PCBs and other pesticides. They suffer infertility, stillbirths and birth defects. Many of their children have compromised immune systems, suffering near constant colds and flus that leave them hearing impaired.
The Great Lakes: Waters from the Chesapeake to San Francisco Bays are contaminated with POPs. Toxaphene levels in Lake Superior, banned in 1982, have increased 50% since banning. Lower Great Lakes PCB levels fall slowly as they vent their excesses to the atmosphere, but Lake Superior has maintained a constant level of PCBs for decades. It is in equilibrium with the toxic mantle of global air and controlled by it! Fish reproduction is impaired and eagles cannot reproduce on a diet from the waters of the Great Lakes. Humans are advised to restrict consumption or avoid eating Great Lakes fish.
The Arctic: Polar bears of the Hudson Bay area may suffer from the lack of ice and seals in the summer, but their brothers to the north have higher levels of POPs and experience half their lifespan and half their reproductivity. Killer whales, leaving the Pacific Northwest to feed on mammal pups in the Arctic return without their mature males. The nursing pups are very toxic from their mother’s milk. Female killer whales vent POPs through their own milk while males continue to accumulate POPs. Their compromised immune systems make them vulnerable to death from infections.
We banned these chemicals in the 1970s and 80s after using them for a couple decades. Unfortunately, through the Green Revolution of the 1960s, our high yielding agriculture was exported to India, Pakistan and Asia to save hundreds of millions of lives using chemicals we subsequently banned. The developing countries have now used these chemicals for their expanding agricultural business for a half a century. China now exports 3.5 billion pounds of food per year to the U.S. food grown with pesticides we’ve banned pesticides that make their way back to our waters.
The Stockholm Convention is a 2001 voluntary agreement to globally ban POPs. Since 2001, there has been nothing voluntarily accomplished that will improve the health of our waters. Global business continues unfettered while poisons pour into the air and find our waters. There will not be any efforts in developing countries without diplomatic carrots or sticks. This will not happen until citizens of the developed world let their elected representatives know that they are tired of breathing contaminated air and not being able to enjoy the fish from our cold, clear deadly waters.
Don’t ignore the opportunity to pass this message to all your friends the same list that you sent the last cute little joke you received. Then let the politicians who are now campaigning about how they will protect your health care dollar know that you would prefer that they clean up our air so there will be less illness and health care cost!