Western European waters are a global hotspot for lingering toxic PCB pollution, research reveals, damaging the reproduction of orcas and dolphins
The UK’s last pod of killer whales is doomed to extinction, with new research revealing western European waters as a global hotspot for the lingering legacy of toxic PCB pollution.
The persistent chemicals, used in electrical equipment but banned in the 1980s, are still leaking into the oceans and were also found in extremely high levels in European dolphins, whose populations are in decline.
The new research analysed levels of PCBs, which are known to harm breeding success and immune systems, in the blubber of more than 1,000 dolphins and killer whales over the last 20 years. The levels found “greatly exceed concentrations at which severe toxic effects are known to occur,” the scientists found.