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Researchers say Stain Repellant Chemicals Harming Polar Bear Brains

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Published on : Mar 17, 2015

A new study has shown that polar bears are suffering from changes to their brains that can be harmful due to the accumulation of pollution in the arctic.

The scientists who worked on the report said that they have found crucial processes in the brains of polar bears are being damaged due to the accumulation of artificially made chemicals. The two most common examples used in the report include stain repellants and water proofing treatments.

The researchers said that the chemicals cause hormonal changes in a polar bear, along with behavioral changes that could seriously affect their chances of survival.

The pollutants are known as perfluoroalkyl compounds and they accumulate the specific areas of polar bears’ brains after many years of consuming contaminated food.

The chemicals are released into the oceans through landfill run-offs and slowly move up the food chain and accumulate in the bodies of apex predators.

Polar bears being apex predators of the Arctic, usually have a high concentration of harmful chemicals in their bodies.

The researchers revealed in their study that multiple areas in a polar bear’s brain had accumulated different levels of PFAs. The areas where the PFA level was the highest had the most disrupted rate of enzyme activity.

The researchers have said that the report is not conclusive and the exact effect of this pollution on the polar bear species is yet to be known.

The research was led by a toxicologist from the University of Copenhagen, Katherine Eggers Pedersen. She said that although PFAs have been on the rise in the Arctic over the past few years, most of the dominant PFAs in the water have been on the decline. The most affected region is in East Greenland.

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