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11.4.04

Arctic Pollution

Poisons From Afar Threaten Arctic Mothers, Traditions

Scientists say the Arctic, once considered pristine and unspoiled, has become a sinkhole for pollutants. The contaminants -- including heavy metals, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, DDT and other pesticides -- come north by air and water.

... Canadian government studies have found that many Inuit have dangerously high levels of PCBs, DDT and mercury in their blood, fatty tissue and breast milk. A 1997 government study found that 65 percent of women in the Baffin region of Nunavut had levels of PCBs in their blood that were five times higher than the safety threshold set by the Canadian Health Ministry. The study found that women in Broughton Island off the southeastern shore of Baffin Island had more than five times the levels of PCBs in their breast milk than women in other parts of Canada.

... Persistent pollutants are among a number of serious threats to the Inuit, the indigenous people who have lived, hunted and fished in this region for thousands of years. Inuit leaders say climate change, the accelerated melting of sea ice and the possibility of the famed icy Northwest Passage opening to year-round shipping also threaten their people. The Inuit, whose ancestors roamed Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Russia, plan to petition the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to declare that the pollutants, climate change and the residue from military installations are violating their human rights.


No insightful comments at the moment, I just thought it was worth passing along.

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