Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Organochlorines Reduce Bone Density in Polar Bears

06.12.2004


Exposure to organochlorine chemicals is linked to reduced bone mineral density among polar bears from East Greenland, according to a study published today in the December issue of the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP). In the study of 139 polar bear skulls, researchers compared 41 samples collected between 1892 and 1932 with 98 samples collected between 1961 and 2002. Bone mineral density in the skulls collected before 1932—considered “pre-pollution” by the researchers—was significantly higher than that in skulls sampled in the “post-pollution” period after 1961, when scientists first began seeing organochlorines and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the fat of polar bears.

The researchers also analyzed a subset of 58 skulls collected between 1999 and 2002 to examine the organochlorine body burden in relation to bone mineral density. In this group, exposure to PCB compounds and to chlordane (a now-banned insecticide) both correlated with low bone mineral density among younger bears. In adult males, concentrations of dieldrin (another banned insecticide) and total DDT residues also correlated with low density.

POPs resist breakdown, store easily in fat, and bioaccumulate through the food chain. Once widely used in agriculture and industry, several types have been classified as probably or possibly carcinogenic to humans, and there are now restrictions or bans related to their application. However, these highly toxic chemicals are very stable over time, and they remain widely present in the environment, where they still pose a serious health threat.



“Polar bears from East Greenland, Svalbard, and the Kara Sea carry higher loads of organochlorines than do polar bears elsewhere in the Arctic due to the different atmospheric transport routes,” the study authors write. “The strong correlative relationships [between bone mineral density and exposure] suggest that disruption of the bone mineral composition in East Greenland polar bears may have been caused by organochlorine exposure.”

Given the results of previous studies on organochlorines, the findings are not surprising, according to Dr. Jim Burkhart, science editor for EHP. “Previous research suggests DDT and PCBs reduce bone density in humans and in Baltic grey seals. Now they appear to have a similar impact on polar bears,” he said.

The lead author of this study was Christian Sonne of the National Environmental Research Institute in Roskilde, Denmark. Other authors included Rune Dietz, Erik W. Born, Frank F. Riget, Maja Kirkegaard, Lars Hyldstrup, Robert J. Letcher, and Derek C.G. Muir. The article is available free of charge at http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/2004/7293/7293.html.

EHP is published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. EHP is an Open Access journal. More information is available online at http://www.ehponline.org/.

| newswise
Further information:
http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/2004/7293/7293.html
http://www.ehponline.org/.

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
24.07.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe
24.07.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Staying in Shape

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>