Treehugger, Dec. 30, 2010
As their native habitat melts, polar bears have been forced into close contact with grizzly bears and humans—both of which have limited the iconic carnivore’s ability to obtain food. This, however, is not the only problem the bears face.
New research has shown that, even in their relatively remote arctic homes, exposure to toxins and chemicals have compounded to make polar bears the most contaminated creatures on the planet.
The problem begins in Europe, Asia, and North America, where industrial and agricultural pollutants are released into the air and water. Ocean and atmospheric currents carry these pollutants north and they eventually settle in the Arctic.
Researchers have found elevated levels of PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and mercury in polar bears.