Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on October 31, 2007
If you’re like me, the first thing you think of when someone mentions toxins in the water stream is the three-eyed fish on The Simpsons. Okay, maybe not. It might be oil or farming or Africa. It might even be Erin Brockovich. But with so many random chemicals finding their way into large bodies of water, it’s not surprising that animals — and the people who eat them — are experiencing irreversible affects.
In the northern regions of Russia, Greenland, and Canada, the historically nomadic Inuit tribes are producing more girls than boys, at a ratio of 2:1, according to scientists from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP). And they believe the water is to blame.
While the effects of man-made chemicals in the water may sound small, they could possibly have a profound effect on the existence of this indigenous culture. With an approximate population of 150,000 Inuit people worldwide, it’s crucial to take into account the fact that in villages near Thule, Greenland the women are only producing girl babies.
Most of the Inuit people still eat the traditional diet, surviving mostly on animals raised in the Arctic (like seals, whales, polar bears, and fish). Many of the animals have been ingesting and swimming in water that contains magnified amounts of specific man-made chemicals. These same toxic chemicals are absorbed into human bloodstreams from eating the infected animals. Despite the fact that whole tribes still eat these Arctic animals daily, young women have been advised to avoid eating them — and warned that if they do, it may cause excess contamination and possibly damage to their unborn children.
Scientists have discovered that certain man-made chemicals have the ability to mimic human hormones and actually change the sex of an unborn child during the first three weeks of gestation. They have also found that many of the babies born in Russia are premature and that the boys are far smaller than girls. In other areas, the nutritionally absorbed chemicals have been found to cause infertility.
With all the organizations trying to save animals from extinction, it is strange to think we may need to start a “Save the Inuit” group soon to protect and safeguard their culture and traditions.
(photos by Tierecke CC)