Heavy metals and dangerous chemicals 'still poisoning Europe's seas' | Environment

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Heavy metals and cocktails of dangerous chemicals to poison Europe's seas, with more than three quarters of areas showing contamination, according to a new report.

The worst impact on the European Environment Agency, where 96% of the reported areas, with 91% of the Black Sea showing similar problems and 87% in the Mediterranean, though levels in the North-East Atlantic were lower with 75% of assessed areas

However, they are not subject to bans or severe restrictions, such as the pesticide. The improvement in the breeding success of the white-tailed sea eagle in the Baltic, for instance, is attributed to the decline in DDT. A continuing problem is with flame retardant chemicals, and still in waterways, and DDT from Africa is still leaching into the Mediterranean.

Europe's environmental watchdog called for greater controls on the way chemicals are used, and better monitoring of marine health. As to damage to human health, toxins found in Europe's seas are affecting marine animals.

Johnny Reker, lead author of the EEA report, told the Guardian it was important to be vigilant over potential new contaminants, as well as the existing ones. "Every two and a half minutes to new chemical is created, and we don't know the effects," he said. “New pharmaceuticals are coming all the time, and getting into waste water. This is an emerging problem but we don't know what the effects will be. "

He cited the example of Germany, where he was born to produce only a third of the sperm that German men had 30 years ago. But, he added, “it remains difficult to prove a causal link between specific contaminants and the reduction of fertility. However, results from animal experiments and human health monitoring programs indicated that the presence of endocrine disruptors in the environment, such as PCBs, may be partially responsible for this reduction in fertility. "

Mercury from coal-fired power stations to pollute Europe’s seas, despite rejection of "These things do not disappear when they get into the sea," he said.

Dioxin has been found in the waters of the Baltic, where it accumulates in the flesh of fatty fish such as salmon and herring. Pregnant women have been advised to eat this as a result, as well as dioxin can restrict growth, cause cancer and adversely affect the immune system. Phthalates, used in plastics, which can act as endocrine disruptors, have been found in the Baltic and Atlantic.

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