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Arctic Pollution from Unexpected Sources

A summary of the article, Sea Birds Fly Pollution to the Arctic, by Andreas von Bubnoff.

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The Original Article:  Sea Birds Fly Pollution to the Arctic:  Bird Guano Makes for Hotspots of Toxins

Author: Andreas von Bubnoff

Source:  Nature, 14 July 2005 , doi:10.1038/news050711-13

My copy was downloaded on , October 24, 2014

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My Precis

We know that pollution is being carried to the Arctic by wind and tides and now we also know, through scientific investigation and the testing of lake water, that pollution is carried into the Arctic by migrating birds.

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My Precis Expanded:

Arctic lakes that are used by birds such as Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) have been found to contain higher concentrations of toxins such as mercury, DDT, and hexachlorobenzen (HCB) than lakes with lower bird populations. To determine the extent that birds are bringing pollution with them, eleven Arctic lakes, located both near and at a distance from, nesting sites were tested for chemical pollutants. Some of these lakes were found to have very high mercury concentrations.

Birds eating contaminated prey or carrion become contaminated themselves as chemicals such as HCB, DDT and PCBs collect in an animal’s fatty tissues. These chemicals then pass on to other predators when the contaminated meat is eaten. Indigenous peoples living in the Arctic and relying on game for food are eating contaminated animals. “Mercury and PCBs can cause immune system dysfunction, adverse neurological effects and IQ deficits.”

Wind and sea currents are major sources of pollution in the Arctic. The best way to fix this problem is to prevent more contamination “from entering the environment in the first place.”

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I found the original article through a search using Google.

http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050711/full/news050711-13.html

If you have any trouble locating the article please contact me or, call your local college or university library for assistance.