Cetaceans at risk from pol­lu­tion

The Oban Times - - News -

TWO WEEKS af­ter a killer whale was found dead on Tiree, an un­con­nected re­port claims killer whales could face ex­tinc­tion in Euro­pean wa­ters due to pol­lu­tion as a re­sult of lin­ger­ing toxic chem­i­cals, poly­chlo­ri­nated biphenyls (PCBs). The re­port by the Zoo­log­i­cal So­ci­ety of Lon­don is based on long-term stud­ies of more than 1,000 de­ceased whales, dol­phins and por­poises (cetaceans), whose blub­ber was found to con­tain one of the high­est con­cen­tra­tions of PCBs in the world.

PCBs are a group of man­made chem­i­cals pre­vi­ously used in prod­ucts such as flame-re­tar­dants and paints.

High ex­po­sure to PCBs is known to weaken ce­tacean im­mune sys­tems and re­duce breed­ing suc­cess by lead­ing to abor­tions or dam­ag­ing new­born calves.

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