Irish killer whales have 300 times more body contaminants

PCBs were industrial chemicals banned more than a decade ago after it was

found that they affect the health of both people. They also decompose very slowly and accumulate in the bodies of marine mammals.

After collecting skin biopsies from 50 killer whales in Iceland, researchers found significant differences in the concentrations and profiles of pollutants.

Killer whales who had a mixed dietthe concentration of PCBs was, on average, 9 times higher than that of killer whales, which fed mainly on fish. The researchers argue that future assessments of the status of killer whale populations should take into account a factor that was previously overlooked: individual differences in dietary sources, which can lead to increased health risks.

Killer whales are the main predators of the sea, and because they are at the top of the food web, they often feed on the most contaminated food.

Melissa McKinney, Associate Professor of the McGill Department of Life Sciences and the Canadian Research Department of Environmental Change and Environmental Stressors

Next, scientists are going to estimate the share of marinemammals in the diet of Icelandic and other North Atlantic killer whales. And also collect a large dataset of pollutants in killer whales across the Atlantic Ocean,

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