A study of bottlenose dolphins living in the English Channel found they are exposed to a cocktail of pollutants.
A team of researchers, led by Dr Krishna Das of the University of Liege, Belgium, took tissue samples from more than 80 dolphins living off Normandy and Brittany. The Channel is home to one of the last remaining large European populations of bottlenose dolphins.
The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, explains scientists discovered some of the highest recorded levels of toxic chemicals and mercury in the animals.
Researchers found high concentrations of mercury in their skin and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and other industrial chemicals, such as dioxins and pesticides, in blubber samples.
According to BBC News, PCBs, used in plastics, paints and electrical equipment, were banned several decades ago but they still linger in the environment, where they can build up in the blubber of dolphins and whales as the compounds are able to dissolve in oils.
Those conducting the study have said more needs to be done to tackle the invisible problem of pollutants in the oceans as its believed the chemicals are passed from parents to their young.
The report explained female dolphins offload a significant portion of this cocktail to their offspring during gestation and lactation, placing foetuses and newborns at a higher risk and added male dolphins are also at risk as they continue to bioaccumulate PCBs throughout life, EuroNews report.
The highest levels of mercury ever recorded have been found in the blubber of dolphins living in the English Channel . Scientists also found worryingly high levels of toxic organic pollutants (PCBs) that were banned as long as 40 years ago. https://t.co/CnDsHclzfh pic.twitter.com/PSu8mD4eXL
— ActionforDolphins (@Act_4Dolphins) September 13, 2019
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