An interactive map reveals that there are cancer-causing chemicals in the blood of animals on almost every continent
Cancer-causing chemicals are now found in the blood of animals on nearly every continent on Earth, a “first of its kind” revealing map has revealed.
‘Sobering’ analysis lays bare the extent to which perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl toxicants (PFASs) are likely to poison babies around the world, having been linked to liver disease, cancer, kidney stress, fetal complications and other problems serious health problems in humans. .
Known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t break down naturally, types of PFAS have been found in horses, dogs, Siberian tigers, pandas, sea lions, wild boars, otters and even oysters.
‘PFAS contamination is not just a problem for humans. It’s a problem for species around the world,” said David Andrews, senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which carried out the research and created the map.
“PFAS are ubiquitous, and this map, the first of its kind, clearly captures the extent to which PFAS have contaminated wildlife around the world.”
Terrifying: Cancer-causing chemicals are now found in the blood of animals on nearly every continent on Earth, a ‘first of its kind’ revealing map has revealed
The research, which was based on more than 100 recent peer-reviewed studies, found that these chemicals forever it may be harming more than 330 species of wildlife around the world, on every continent except Antarctica.
WHAT ANIMALS HAVE BEEN CONTAMINATED BY TOXIC PFAS?
More than 330 species of wildlife around the world have been contaminated by ‘chemicals forever’, new research shows. They include:
- sea lions
- Wild pig
- siberian tigers
- Polar bears
However, this does not mean that creatures are not affected.
The researchers say the lack of recent test results from the mainland meant they couldn’t be sure PFAS were in the blood of Antarctic animals.
However, the fact that these chemicals can be transported long distances through the atmosphere suggests that even species far from industrial sources have likely been contaminated by them, they add.
Rebecca Sutton, a senior scientist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute, said she believed “almost every species on Earth has been exposed to these chemicals.”
Part of the reason that everlasting chemicals are highly mobile is because they don’t break down, which means they can circulate continuously through the environment at will.
About 120 different types of PFAS compounds were found in the animals’ blood, the analysis showed, but the EWG cautions that the figure is likely to be much higher.
This is because limits on testing capabilities make it difficult to identify many of the chemicals.
“From the polar bear in the far reaches of the Arctic to the hawksbill turtle in the tropics of the Pacific Ocean, the world’s most threatened species have another danger to face: PFAS chemical contamination,” said Nathan Donley, environmental health scientist. Director of the Center for Biological Diversity.
“Our choice is to continue to allow extinction with widespread chemical contamination or take steps to prevent it.”
The “sobering” analysis lays bare the extent to which toxic PFASs are likely to poison babies around the world, having been linked to liver disease, cancer, kidney stress, fetal complications and other serious health problems in humans.
About 120 different types of PFAS compounds were found in the animals’ blood, the analysis showed, but the EWG cautions that the number is likely much higher.
Known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t break down naturally, types of PFAS have been found in horses, dogs, pandas and wild boars.
PFAS are a class of around 12,000 man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products around the world since the 1940s, specifically to make products resistant to heat, water, and stains.
HEALTH RISKS OF PFAS
Some types of PFAS chemicals, notably perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), have been linked to cancer, impaired immune function, and thyroid disease, among other health conditions.
Experts believe that breastfeeding mothers and young children may be at particular risk from PFAS, which can affect development, reproduction, and health.
They include food containers, personal care products, waterproof clothing, and fire-fighting foams.
The chemicals are found in the blood of virtually everyone, including newborn babies, but until now the impact on wildlife has been less clear.
“Together, these studies show how hundreds of types of animals are exposed to PFAS,” said Tasha Stoiber, EWG principal scientist.
“The map tells a story about these chemicals: that they are global, they are persistent and toxic, and they are spreading to animals and humans through the air, water and soil.”
She added: ‘Our research found that the most common methods we have for disposing of PFAS may end up leading to further contamination.
“And we can expect the contamination to spread throughout the food chain, potentially affecting more species, including humans.”
PFASs are linked to increased cholesterol, reproductive and developmental problems, and other health problems in humans, including cancer.
What they do to the animals is less clear, but last year researchers in North Carolina found lupus-like autoimmune disorders in alligators living in water contaminated by a nearby PFAS plant owned by chemical manufacturer Chemours.
PFAS are linked to increased cholesterol, reproductive and developmental problems, and other health problems in humans, including cancer.
Part of the reason forever chemicals are highly mobile is because they don’t decay, which means they can circulate continuously through the environment at will.
The research found that these permanent chemicals may be harming more than 330 species of wildlife around the world, including sea lions.
Toxic PFAS were also found in Siberian tigers, otters, turtles, cats, fish, and even oysters.
A previous study has also found Evidence of immune system problems in North Pacific sea turtles.
Donley added: ‘We are currently living in the midst of Earth’s sixth mass extinction event, and it is one created entirely by us.
“It’s quite ironic that many species that are about to be lost forever are loaded with synthetic ‘forever chemicals’ designed to never break down.
“Now is the time to decide if we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in a world full of life or one where our pollution outlasts everything.”
EWG President Ken Cook said: ‘EWG has been fighting PFAS for nearly 25 years.
‘In that time, our researchers have reviewed scientific studies, conducted our own investigations, and mapped out where toxic PFASs are detected.
We have now shown that these chemicals have contaminated the bodies of animals in almost every corner of the world.
‘There are still countless places and species around the world that are likely to be contaminated but have yet to be tested. PFAS contamination is a global problem. This map is just the beginning.
HOW PFAS CHEMICALS CONTAMINATE FOOD AND WATER SUPPLIES
PFAS are man-made chemicals used as oil and water repellents and coatings for common products such as cookware, carpets, and textiles.
These endocrine disrupting chemicals do not break down when released into the environment and continue to accumulate over time.
PFAS chemicals can contaminate drinking water supplies near facilities where the chemicals are used.
PFAS contamination has been detected in water near manufacturing facilities, as well as at military bases and fire training facilities where PFAS-containing foam is used.
They also enter the food supply through food packaging materials and contaminated soil.