Sunday, January 15, 2006
Flame retardants are newest threat for polar bears
Toxins from US, Europe pollute Arctic food chain
By Marla Cone, Los Angeles Times | January 15, 2006, Posted on Boston Globe.
SVALBARD, Norway -- Already imperiled by melting ice and a brew of toxic chemicals, polar bears throughout the Arctic, particularly in remote dens near the North Pole, face an additional threat as flame retardants originating largely in the United States are building up in their bodies, according to an international team of wildlife scientists.
The flame retardants are one of the newest additions to hundreds of industrial compounds and pesticides carried to the Arctic by winds and ocean currents. Accumulating in the fatty tissues of animals, many chemicals grow more concentrated as larger creatures eat smaller ones, turning the Arctic's top predators and native people into some of the most contaminated living organisms on Earth.