Both animals and humans in Alaska and other northern arctic regions are being poisoned by industrial chemicals, pesticides and preservatives, carried on ocean and airs currents according to new reports from environmental groups.
The reports detail a steady build up of these chemicals in the northern latitudes despite the introduction of regulations and treaties banning or restricting their use.
A recent study published in the online Archive of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, showed that liver and blubber sample analysis from northern fur seals taken over two years from the Bering Sea’s Pribilof Islands, showed the increasing presence of harmful chemicals, and not the decrease the scientists were expecting.
The environmental groups said this could be because of two reasons. Either the treaties and bans were not being observed as they should, or the chemicals stayed in the body for longer than had been expected.
Northern fur seals are found across a region stretching from the coast of Southern California to Japan with 50 percent of the total seal population having breed in the Pribilof Islands.
The poisons were being passed from the seals to other wildlife and humans through the food cycle.
The concerns of the environmental groups have been expressed in The Stockholm Convention which reads “the Arctic ecosystems and indigenous communities are particularly at risk because of the biomagnification of persistent organic pollutants and that contaminants of their traditional foods is a public health issue.”
The Convention, an ongoing work in progress, is regarded as the Bible by environmental groups as it lays down the commandments of what chemicals can and cannot be used.
The United States government signed the Stockholm Convention in 2001 along with 178 other nations but the U.S, Senate has not ratified it.