News Round-Up

Study finds high levels of toxic pollutants in stranded dolphins and whales

Source: fau.edu

A study led by researchers at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute examined toxins in tissue concentrations and pathology data from 83 stranded dolphins and whales along the southeastern coast of the United States from 2012 to 2018. Researchers examined 11 different animal species to test for 17 different substances in animals found on the shores in North Carolina and Florida.

This is the first study to date to publish a report examining concentrations in blubber tissues of stranded cetaceans of atrazine, an herbicide, DEP, (a phthalate ester found in plastics), NPE or nonylphenol ethoxylate commonly used in food packing, and triclosan, an antibacterial and antifungal agent present in some consumer products, including toothpaste, soaps, detergents and toys.

The study also is the first to report concentrations of toxicants in a white-beaked dolphin and in Gervais’ beaked whales, species for which the scientific literature remains sparse. Documenting toxicants in cetaceans is a critical step in tracing chemical contaminants within the marine food web and understanding their effects on biological systems. MORE

Header image: Annie Page-Karjian.