科学家们将地球归类为一个“毒星球”

2017-02-08 10:22:29 来源: 中国科技网 作者: 张微编译

人类每年排放超过2500亿吨的化学物质,这是一场危害人类和地球上所有生命的有毒物质倾泻。

“地球,和地球上的所有生命正在遭受这个星球历史上前所未有的人造化学物质的毒害,”‘在21世纪活下来’这本书的作者朱利安 克里布说。

“我们生命中的每时每刻都能接触到成千上万的这些物质。它们通过呼吸、餐饮,我们的衣物和化妆品进入我们的身体,我们每天在家里、办公场所和旅行过程都会遇到这些物质。”

克里布先生说,人造化学物质排放造成的地球污染可能是最大的人类影响——也是最不被人类了解或调整的影响。这是人类面临的十大生存风险之一,他在《在21世纪活下去》这本书中描述道。

“欧洲化学品管理局估计地球上存在超过14.4万种化学物质。美国卫生部估计每年有2000种新化学物质排放出来。联合国环境规划署警告说,大部分的化学物质从未进行过人类健康安全筛查,”他说。

“世界卫生组织估计,每年,1200万人(每4个人中就会有1个)死于由‘空气、水和土壤污染、化学品暴露、气候变化和紫外线辐射’所引发的疾病,所有这些都是人类活动造成的。”

有毒物质倾泻的例子包括:

工业化学物质——每年3000万吨

海洋中的塑料污染——每年8mt

有害废物——每年400mt

煤、石油、天然气等——每年15亿吨

土壤流失——每年75Gt

金属和材料——每年75Gt

采矿和矿物废料< 每年200Gt

水(主要是上述废物产生的污染水)——每年9兆吨。

“现在,工业毒素在新生儿体内,母亲的乳汁,食物链和世界各地的饮用水中都有发现。从珠穆朗玛峰的峰顶(那里的学已经受到污染不符合饮用水的标准)到海洋深处,从城市中心到偏远的岛屿都检测到了这些工业毒素。”

从我们食用的鱼类和北极熊体内都发现了汞,这都是煤炭燃烧的附带后果,而且这些污染物每年都会增加。

“由于农业杀虫剂导致蜜蜂的死亡,和对世界粮食供应以及所有昆虫生命(包括以昆虫为食的鸟类、青蛙和鱼类)的影响,引发了全球性的关注。”

克里布先生说,关于化学污染有一个问题很大程度上被政府和企业忽视了,那就是化学物质经常以组合的形式发挥作用,以混合物的形式造成污染,而且不断发生变化。“一种给定的化学品不可能在某个地方产生有毒的量,但是与成千上万的其它化学品结合就会给人口和环境带来更大的健康和安全风险。”

医学界越来越多地将肥胖、癌症、心脏病和脑部疾病如自闭症、多动症和抑郁症与人类每天接触到的有毒物质联系在一起。

“尽管试图调整化学品的使用,但迄今为止,14.4万种化学品中只有21种被禁用。在一些国家,如美国,正在尝试中止化学品调控政策,这会让全体居民暴露在更大的健康风险中。”

克里布先生说,解决全球有毒物质威胁的方案,需要全球消费者、政府和行业的共同协作。

“首先,我们需要一个新的人权——一种不被毒害的权利。如果没有这样的权利,那么人类历史上就不会有这样一天,即我们免于人造污染物的毒害。”

“第二,我们要建立全球消费者联盟,拒绝有毒产品或有毒生产过程制造出的产品——并给予生产行业一个经济激励,转向‘绿色化学’”和其它安全系统。”

“我们的社区采用‘零废物’模式,在那里没有丢弃物,所有物质都可以回收再利用,使有毒物质更安全。”

“人类需要明白一个道理,这些有毒物质被释放出来,仅仅是因为我们作为消费者购买产品,工业部门尽可能制造出便宜的商品供我们消费。这是不考虑人类健康和安全风险的生产方式。因此,在某种意义上,我们所有人都侥幸逃过了谋杀。”

“如果消费者要求安全、健康、绿色的产品,并且愿意为此向工业部门支付更多的钱,使它们生产更安全的产品,我们就能在一代人的时间里净化我们的地球。”

“最终我们都将以一种方式或另一种方式付出化学有毒物的代价。这是一个简单的选择——付钱给超市或付钱给医疗救治机构。”

《在21世纪活下来》这本书中描述了人类作为一个整体必须要做什么,以及我们每个人能够做什么来扭转这股毒流。(张微编译)

以下为英文原文:

Scientists categorize Earth as a 'toxic planet'

Humans emit more than 250 billion tonnes of chemical substances a year, in a toxic avalanche that is harming people and life everywhere on the planet.

"Earth, and all life on it, are being saturated with man-made chemicals in an event unlike anything in the planet's entire history," says Julian Cribb, author of 'Surviving the 21st Century' (Springer International 2017).

"Every moment of our lives we are exposed to thousands of these substances. They enter our bodies with each breath, meal or drink we take, the clothes and cosmetics we wear, the things we encounter every day in our homes, workplaces and travel.

Mr Cribb says that the poisoning of the planet through man-made chemical emissions is probably the largest human impact – and the one that is least understood or regulated. It is one of ten major existential risks now confronting humanity, he describes in Surviving the 21st Century.

"The European Chemicals agency estimates there are more than 144,000 man-made chemicals in existence. The US Department of Health estimates 2000 new chemicals are being released every year. The UN Environment Program warns most of these have never been screened for human health safety," he says.

"The World Health Organisation estimates that 12 million people – one in 4 – die every year from diseases caused by 'air water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change and ultraviolet radiation', all of which result from human activity."

Examples of the toxic avalanche include:

Manufactured chemicals – 30 million tonnes a year

Plastic pollution of oceans – 8mt/yr

Hazardous waste – 400 mt/yr

Coal, oil, gas etc – 15 gigatonnes (billion tonnes) a year

Lost soil – 75 Gt/yr

Metals and materials – 75 Gt/yr

Mining and mineral wastes - <200 Gt/yr

Water (mostly contaminated with above wastes) – 9 trillion tonnes a year.

"Industrial toxins are now routinely found in new-born babies, in mother's milk, in the food chain, in domestic drinking water worldwide. They have been detected from the peak of Mt Everest (where the snow is so polluted it doesn't meet drinking water standards) to the depths of the oceans, from the hearts of our cities to the remotest islands.

"The mercury found in the fish we eat, and in polar bears in the Arctic, is fallout from the burning of coal and increases every year.

"There is global concern at the death of honeybees from agricultural pesticides and the potential impact on the world food supply, as well as all insect life - and on the birds, frogs and fish which in turn depend on insects."

Mr Cribb says an issue of chemical contamination largely ignored by governments and corporations is that chemicals act in combination, occur in mixtures and undergo constant change. "A given chemical may not occur in toxic amounts in one place – but combined with thousands of other chemicals it may contribute a much larger risk to the health and safety of the whole population and the environment."

Medical science is increasingly linking issues such as obesity, cancers, heart disease and brain disorders such as autism, ADHD and depression to the growing volume of toxic substances to which humans are exposed daily.

"Despite attempts to regulate chemical use, only 21 out of 144,000 chemicals have so far been banned. In countries such as the United States, attempts are apparently under way to roll back chemical regulation, exposing the population to ever-greater health risks."

Mr Cribb says solutions to the threat of global poisoning exist, but require the co-operation of consumers, government and industry worldwide.

"First, we need a new Human Right – a right not to be poisoned. Without such a right, there will never again be a day in history when humans are free from man-made poisons.

"Second we need a global alliance of consumers who will reject toxic products or products made with toxic processes – and give industry the economic incentive to switch to 'green chemistry' and other safer systems.

"Our communities need to adopt 'zero waste', where nothing is discarded but all substances are re-used and toxic ones made safe."

"People need to understand that these poisons are only released because we as consumers send our dollar demands to industry to make things as cheaply as possible. This takes no account of the damage to human life and health. So we are all, in a sense, getting away with murder.

"If consumers demand safe, healthy, green products and are willing to pay industry a little more to make them safely, we can cleanse our planet within a generation.

"We all end up paying chemical toxicity one way or another. It's a simple choice – pay at the supermarket, or pay at the hospice."

Surviving the 21st Century describes what humanity as a whole must do, and what individuals can do to turn back the toxic tide.

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