Human Pollution Causes Cancer in Wildlife

Wildlife cancer rates rising due to human pollutionCancer in wildlife caused by human pollution is on the rise, according ot Newsweek. Our impact on the environment is leading to health problems in wild animals, especially considering much of our trash contains carcinogens.  A report titled  “Wildlife Cancer: a Conservation Perspective” published in Nature Reviews Cancer found “mounting evidence of human’s contribution to carcinogenesis in wild-animal populations across the globe, thanks to man-made toxins dumped into wildlife’s natural habitats.”

Last year, it was discovered that Tasmanian devils may become extinct in 20 years due to an infectious cancer called devil facial tumor disease, but many other species are also experiencing increased rates of cancer.  For example, 17 percent of San Francisco’s famous sea lions die from renal failure or paralysis caused by genital carcinoma.  A majority of these sea lions’ bodies contained high concentrations of PCBs and DDT.  The report’s lead author Denise McAloose warns:

I am concerned that we as humans continue to impact the environment quite significantly,.  As the human population continues to grow and utilize resources and damage the environment, I do believe that we will continue to see the emergence of disease, including cancer in wildlife.

If pollutants are causing cancer in wildlife, imagine what it is doing to the human population as well.

Image by ArtBrom on Flickr under a Creative Commons License

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