Mercury in Alaskan Sled Dogs' Fur Shows Danger to Humans from Contaminated Salmon
Thanks to the Discovery Channel for this article.
Sled Dogs Warn of Alaskan Mercury Levels
Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News
Sept. 7, 2007 Alaskan sled dogs live in one of the world's most pristine environments, but a new study has revealed the hard-working canines are often exposed to potentially dangerous levels of mercury.
Since rural Alaskans frequently share food and living quarters with their dogs, the find based on an analysis of the animals' fur suggests mercury poisoning may also pose threats to many Arctic and subarctic region residents.
The study came after elder members of native communities expressed concern about the impact of mercury levels resulting from metal processing, coal burning and other industrial waste. Mercury especially accumulates in one food at the center of Yukon Territory diets salmon.
"All the subsistence fed sled dogs in the Native Yukon villages were fed mostly salmon," said Kriya Dunlap, a champion sled dog racer and chemist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.