Climate Change Could Cause Cancer, UN Warns

As glaciers melt, toxic chemicals released into food chain
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2010 7:22 AM CST
This Feb. 1, 2005 file photo shows an aerial view of the Siachen Glacier, which traverses the Himalayan region dividing India and Pakistan.   (AP Photo/Channi Anand, file)

(Newser) – Climate change is doing more than just harming our environment—it could also be harming you, scientists say. Toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer, tumors, heart disease, and infertility are being released into the air and water via melting glaciers, reports the Daily Mail, pointing to a new UN report due to be published next month. The study reportedly shows the links between climate change and persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

POPs, which include pesticides like DDT and other chemicals such as those once used in electrical products, are especially concerning because they can last for decades in the environment: POPs that were trapped years ago in glaciers and ice sheets are just now being released as those melt—and entering the food chain. "They accumulate in higher and higher levels as they go up the food chain,” says a UN rep. “And the end of the food chain is us. We find them in mother’s breast milk and in blood. It is a problem in all parts of the world—they do not respect borders. They travel thousands of miles and they continue to build. "

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