How many legs did that thing have? (Think about this Thursday)

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You are innocently washing your dishes or cleaning your kitchen floor, your neighbor has his yard service fertilizing his lawn, when you realize that you need a fresh pineapple from the grocery store for that new recipe you want to try. You hop in the car and drive to the store and pick up your conventionally grown pineapple from half way around the world and then head back home. Sound familiar? Every aspect of our lives create pollution of one sort or another and that pollution ends up in our water, our air, and in every living creature on this planet. Some of those creatures adapt better than others but scientists are noticing an increase in the number of oddities that they are seeing in nature.

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The effects of pollution in living organisms may range from mild discomfort to serious illnesses such as cancer and physical deformities such as extra or missing limbs.

The reduction in the ozone layer results in more UV radiation making it to the ground and may be causing an increase in the number of skin cancers in wildlife.

Water pollution from farm runoff that is high in phosphorus and nitrogen (AKA conventional fertilizers) causes death to marine life and outbreaks of numerous fish diseases. Fish that live in industrial areas have higher levels of skin and liver cancers than fish in less polluted areas. Two-headed fish found in the Noosa River are at the center of a controversy surrounding pesticide drift from neighboring farms in Queensland, Australia

Water pollution can also cause liver and kidney diseases as well as neurological problems and reduced reproductive rates.

Soil pollution is concentrated as it moves up the food chain and can lead to higher mortality rates in larger predators. Stop and think about this: Where are we on the food chain? I would say we are pretty much at the top of the food chain, right? We eat things that have eaten other things that have eaten even SMALLER things. And every step of the way, those environmental contaminants are concentrated in the muscle, skin, etc of every organism that comes along. Did you know that the human male has the worst sperm count of any mammalian species, with the exception of the gorilla? Interesting! (sorry, guys, don’t mean to slam  your virilitly!)
For information on pollution and the environment, check out the EPA for Concerned Citizens and see how you can bring changes to your community!
References
Tropical Rain Forest Animals
Discovery News

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