Even Nunavut gets plenty of dioxin.
Carved from the Northwest Territories Northwest Territories, territory (2001 pop. 37,360), 532,643 sq mi (1,379,028 sq km), NW Canada. The Northwest Territories lie W of Nunavut, N of lat. 60°N, and E of Yukon. , Nunavut became Canada's newest province last year. This huge arctic territory is home to a mere 24,000 people, mostly native Inuit. Though Nunavut lacks heavy industries, it hasn't avoided their toxic fallout. The breast milk of Inuit women there, for instance, contains twice the average concentration of dioxin dioxin
Aromatic compound, any of a group of contaminants produced in making herbicides (e.g., Agent Orange), disinfectants, and other agents. Their basic chemical structure consists of two benzene rings connected by a pair of oxygen atoms; when substituents on the rings are found in the milk of women in southern Quebec. One reason is that the Inuit diet consists primarily of fatty animals high in the food chain, which accumulate especially high concentrations of dioxin.
A new study finds that most of Nunavut's dioxin comes from industrial combustion in the eastern and midwestern United States--not Canada. Some even originates as far away as Mexico. The Montreal-based Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC (Central Electronic Complex) The set of hardware that defines a mainframe, which includes the CPU(s), memory, channels, controllers and power supplies included in the box. Some CECs, such as IBM's Multiprise 2000 and 3000, include data storage devices as well. ), created under the North American Free Trade Agreement North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), accord establishing a free-trade zone in North America; it was signed in 1992 by Canada, Mexico, and the United States and took effect on Jan. 1, 1994. , released the findings this week.
A computer program modeled the pollutant's path. The program is able "to specify exactly which sources contribute, proportionately," to the dioxin in Nunavut or any other area, explains study leader Barry Commoner Barry Commoner (born May 28 1917) is an American biologist, college professor, and eco-socialist. He ran for president of the United States in the 1980 U.S. presidential election on the Citizens Party ticket.
Commoner was born in Brooklyn. , director of the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems at City University of New York The City University of New York (CUNY; acronym: IPA pronunciation: [kjuni]), is the public university system of New York City. .
Dioxin doesn't target Nunavut, emphasizes Mark Cohen, the model's developer and an atmospheric scientist who used to work with Commoner. Within a couple weeks of its release, dioxin has traveled in many directions, he notes, leaving North America "awash in it."
His model generates a hypothetical puff of dioxin from each known or projected source every few hours throughout an entire year. The amount of dioxin in each puff depends on its source. The model then estimates how reported weather would have transported, dispersed, destroyed, or deposited the dioxin.
(Hebrew: “priest”) Jewish priest descended from Zadok (a descendant of Aaron), priest at the First Temple of Jerusalem. The biblical priesthood was hereditary and male. , now with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Noun 1. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - an agency in the Department of Commerce that maps the oceans and conserves their living resources; predicts changes to the earth's environment; provides weather reports and forecasts floods and hurricanes and (NOAA NOAA
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Noun 1. NOAA - an agency in the Department of Commerce that maps the oceans and conserves their living resources; predicts changes to the earth's environment; ) in Silver Spring, Md., adapted a NOAA model by Roland Draxler.
Comparisons with real conditions confirmed that the model's transport and dispersion predictions are fairly reliable, Draxler says. The greatest uncertainties that show up, he says, are in the model's values for dioxin inputs. Cohen agrees, saying that the projections are "the best science can give us" until governments collect better dioxin-production data.
The CEC commissioned the study of 44,000 different cement kilns, incinerators, and other dioxin producers "to test the feasibility of tracking dioxins from source to receptor on a continental scale," explains Program Director Greg Block. Its success, he told SCIENCE NEWS, offers policy makers and communities, such as Nunavut, a tool for understanding the global impacts of persistent organic chemicals. Many, such as dioxin, are slated for elimination (SN: 7/4/98, p. 6).
Commoner hopes the data prompt efforts to reduce toxic chemicals at their sources. After all, he notes, "you can't put up an umbrella to keep them out of Nunavut, or even off a dairy farm in the United States."