“A riveting narrative as notable for its conversational fluency as for the clarity of its alarming information. . . . Cone’s superb and affecting delineation of the Arctic’s chemical crisis and its consequences for us all is galvanizing and necessary.” Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)
The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic
978-0-8021-4259-7 • $16.00 • Paperback • July 2006
An amazing scientific and personal journey into the lands, animals, and native peoples of the Arctic, which is home to some of the most dangerous and lethal contaminants on the planet
Traditionally thought of as the last great unspoiled territory on Earth, the Arctic is in reality home to some of the most contaminated people and animals on the planet. Awarded a major grant to conduct an exhaustive study of the deteriorating environment of the Arctic by the Pew Charitable Trusts (the first time Pew has given such a grant to a journalist), Los Angeles Times environmental reporter Marla Cone traveled across the Arctic, from Greenland to the Aleutian Islands, to find out why the Arctic is toxic.
What she discovered was shocking: Tons of dangerous chemicals and pesticides from the United States, Europe, and Asia are being carried to the Arctic by northbound winds and waves and amplified in the ocean’s food web. As a result, Inuit women who eat seal and whale meat have far higher concentrations of PCBs and mercury in their breast milk than women who live in the most industrialized areas of the world, and they pass these poisons to their infants, leaving them susceptible to disease. Polar bears near the North Pole are increasingly born with altered immune systems and sex hormones.
Silent Snow is not only a scientific journey, but a personal one. Whether hunting giant bowhead whales with native Alaskans who are struggling to protect their livelihood, or tracking endangered polar bears in Norway, Cone reports with an insider’s eye on the dangers of pollution to native peoples and ecosystems, how Arctic cultures are adapting to this pollution, and what solutions will prevent the crisis from getting worse.