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Last Updated: Thursday February 17 2005 12:18 GMT

Chemicals threaten arctic animals

A polar bear in the Arctic
Chemicals are affecting wildlife in the Arctic
Animals that live in the Arctic are being affected by growing levels of chemicals coming from other countries.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says things like pesticides are coming via air, river and ocean currents.

It means the arctic has more of certain chemicals than the countries which made them in the first place.

Scientists say the health of polar bears, fish, seals and whales is being affected by the contamination.

The chemicals get trapped by ice once they reach the polar region.

Then they're released when the ice melts, sometimes years later.

Birds, fish and seals around Britain's North Sea coast have also been contaminated with chemicals used in making paints, glues and rubber.

The WWF says there must be tighter rules to stop the chemicals getting to the Arctic in the first place.

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