We can no longer ignore the presence of chemicals in our waters. Scientists from Canada and the US are saying that out of sight, out of mind is no longer applicable. Our lakes, rivers and oceans have become receivers of all the substances that we use everyday. This is impacting aquatic life and even ourselves in the long run.
- 30,000 chemicals
Based on research, there are about 30,000 chemicals used commercially with 400 of that resistant in being broken down in the environment. These then accumulate and pose hazards on marine wildlife. The breakdown of the 400 is that 75% of that has not been studied. They are called emerging chemical contaminants. Though not necessarily new substances but their potential impacts are still undetermined and are just now being realized. They are dangers to human health and the environment.
Only the 4 percent have been routinely analyzed and monitored.
- Exxon incident
In the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the discovered polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons cause heart defects in the embryos of pink salmon and herring. Oil spills and urban runoff of this substance continue to threaten the fishery in coastal areas.
The chemicals weaken the hearts in the embryos making them beat slower and slower. The result is heart deformity and fluid buildup in the hearts.
This now becomes a case of what’s not good for the marine life is not good for humans too. The context being, we’re breathing PAH too coming from car tailpipes everyday. In dense, urban areas they can be defined as aerosolized oil spill. The air pollution has been attributed to diseases of the hearts in humans.
- Combining chemicals danger
Even if it can be said that the effects of a single chemical is not deadly, the combined chemicals in the environment can be more potent. Though pesticides are regulated one by one, they end up mixed in the environment. Once they are mixed with other pesticides it becomes hazardous. Yet these mixtures are not regulated in any way.
As water quality monitoring results on rivers and streams studies have shown, the threatened and endangered salmon showed contamination with pesticides that have run off from urban areas and agricultural land. The conclusion was the salmon population decline.
- Doing risk assessments
Studies have been focused on single chemical impacts but may be underestimating the interactions with other substances in the environment. There should be a risk assessment addressing single and multiple substances and its environmental impact.
Take note that with the salmon case above, the impact of insecticides on the nervous system of the fish is similar to what can happen to humans.
- Ocean pollution effects
Humans have causes so much impact on the Earth’s oceans. It has reached the entire square mile of the seas. It is ominous for ocean creatures, with impacts to man as well, that human activity is the culprit. Overfishing, greenhouse gases and global warming and toxins in the environment have been brought about by humans.
- Impacts on mammals
Marine mammals have suffered dramatic increase in dreadful diseases on the nervous and digestive systems. Liver issues in turtles were noted. Endocrine and reproductive malformations were detected. Growth and development issues have been categorized.
Bottomline is that these illnesses were caused by the man-made toxic contamination of the oceans.
It may be too late in certain areas to stop the impact of chemical runoffs in the seas as it cannot be altered anymore. The key here is to identify the rest of the space where animals have not been burdened that far yet and build a safer environment for them. One that is ideally untampered and ideal.