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  Human-made poisons are killing polar bears
Updated 01 October 2002, 16.35
Polar bear (BBC Wild/Mats Forsberg)
Arctic animals like polar bears could be completely killed off because they are eating poisonous chemicals made by humans.

  Click here to test your polar bear facts

Scientists in Norway have found dangerous chemicals we make have reached the food chain of animals in the Arctic circle.

Fact File
The chemicals
The poisons are called PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)
They are banned by most countries by the Stockholm Agreement
PCBs get into blubber of animals
Blubbery animals and fish are eaten by bears and Inuits
In 1997 polar bears with sexual deformities were found
Experts blame PCBs

Poisons from plastics and electrical goods can take years to break down and disappear.

But they are carried along in water for hundreds of kilometres. Eventually they seep into food and water eaten by smaller animals and fish.

Inuit Eskimo communities are eating the food too, which could seriously damage them.

Most countries have now banned the use of these chemicals in their plastics. But some - like Russia and the US - still use some dangerous chemicals.

Now the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) want them to agree to stop using them.

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
Arctic nations banned from hunting whales
Polar bears could die out
Polar bear tricked into adopting cub

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