Greenpeace has slammed Canada for its lack of action on eliminating the world’s 12 most dangerous toxic pollutants.
“Here we go again,” said a Greenpeace spokeswoman. “Strong words for the television cameras, but behind the scenes an extremely weak position that risks the health of future generations.”
The 12 chemicals have entered the Arctic food chain and made many animals in the North poisonous to eat. They include the insecticide DDT and industrial byproducts like dioxin and PCBs.
A piece of whale meat the size of a sugar cube contains a week’s maximum safe amount of PCB, but whale meat is a regular part of the Inuit diet. The chemicals collect the most in long-living animals like whales.
The chemicals are linked to a wide variety of health problems: falling sperm counts, rising rates of breast and testicular cancer, behaviour disorders, immune system deficiency.
For the first time ever, the United Nations held a meeting in Montreal this month to discuss elimination of the 12 chemicals. But Greenpeace says Canada has a poor record on controlling the chemicals, despite the alarming levels of contamination in the North. Contamination is also bad in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River areas.
The discovery of mutant frogs with deformed legs and hands in the St. Lawrence River has scientists fearing the worst.
The mutations, thought to be linked to agricultural chemicals, are just one sign that allis not well with Mother Nature. A headline in The Montreal Gazette recently reported thatscientists believe the environment is sending a message that “human life itself is inperil.”