Most people think of pollution in terms of the smog of the 19th century, or low-lying ozone from car exhausts, leaving a summer haze over cities. Alternatively, they are aware of the rise of asthma, possibly due to pollution. But the problem is much worse.
Modern industry packs hundreds of chemicals into products and packaging. Many of these mimic hormones, and leave traces in the environment. Some research suggests this may be behind apparent sex changes in some animals.
This may tie in with declining sperm counts in men, the hormone mimickers leading to a possible slow death of the human race through infertility. But this isn’t the worst problem with this form of subtle pollution.
Essential to life on Earth is the food chain. At its simplest, vegetation is eaten by the herbivore, who is in turn eaten by the carnivore, with man at the top of the chain. But the nature of the chain is that whatever gets into the chain at the lower end, end up at the top.
In this way, anything that is introduced at the lower end ends up at the top. So if a lower life form is affected by chemical pollution, it will eventually get us. In this way, nature spreads itself throughout an ecosystem. We put a lot of chemicals in vegetation.
This system also works in reverse. The plastic carrier bag has been cited often. Being non-biodegradable, constituents of billions of bags seep into the seas and soil, soaked up by vegetation, and passed up the food chain. Bin bags are colonising our bodies.
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