Toxic Flame Retardants Found in Killer Whale Fat

Recently researchers have discovered toxic flame retardants in killer whale fat during autopsies. Killer whales have been found to contain flame retardant chemicals in their fat that can be passed on with birth.

The retardants, known as brominated flame retardants (RFBs) have been found to have chemicals like perfluoroalkyl substances. These chemicals were detected in the milk found in the calf’s stomach – high on fat.

Recently researchers have discovered toxic flame retardants in killer whale fat during autopsies which can be passed on with birth | Image: Eureka Alert

These compounds are designed and build up as toxic substances in the food chain – linked to infertility and hormonal issues in mild animals. Long-banned polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were detected in the fat of seven out of eight killer whales examined. These substances have exceeded the dangerous threshold.

Also Read: Scientists Voice Concerns over Imminent Extinction Risk to Whales

The chemical is believed to have entered the whales through other animals they consumed. The researchers suggested that the chemicals have not broken down into the environment and are eventually harmful to the animals.

Toxic Flame Retardants Found in Killer Whale Fat During Autopsies

The compounds build up as toxic substances in the food chain and linked to infertility and hormonal issues in mild animals | Image: Natural Worlds Safaris

The emergence of toxic substances in top predators in distant locations like the Arctic suggests that chemicals travel long distances. Pollutants’ level found in predators indicates that it not only affects the ecosystem’s health but also its passive mobility in the environment.

The team of scientists has performed autopsies on the whales to determine the chemical content in the body tissue. The chemicals were found to be deposited in the fat.

The results have been found helpful for the ongoing biomonitoring of the Arctic marine ecosystem. It provides further evidence of the bioaccumulative properties of toxic, man-made contaminants.

Via: UK Time News

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