European Killer Orca Whales At Risk Of Extinction Due To Poisonous Chemicals

Posted: Jan 15 2016, 9:49am CST | by , Updated: Jan 15 2016, 7:26pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

European Killer Orca Whales at Risk of Extinction due to Poisonous Chemicals
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  • Poisonous chemicals endanger European Orca Whales with extinction!

A recent study claims PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyl) have irreparably harmed Orca Whale populations.

According to a recent study, chemicals have irreparably harmed orca whale populations around Europe. The Orca whales also known as the Killer whales may be on the verge of extinction.

The poisonous chemicals called PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl) were banned decades ago in Europe. Ecologists revealed the study on Thursday in the journal Nature. In the study 1,000 orca whale, dolphin and porpoise samples were taken.

The results found that all the animals were being harmed by the PCBs. The study stresses the need for stricter rules for disposal of materials containing the toxic chemicals.

PCBs have been deemed highly toxic to wildlife and humans by public health officials. Although they were banned decades ago they are still released by improper disposal of old materials. Especially old paints, electrical equipment, and construction materials from the 1980s.

The lead author of the study is Paul Jepson of the Zoological Society of London. Jepson told AFP that PCBs are leaching from landfills into rivers and estuaries. Eventually they enter the marine environment.

The PCBs readily pass up the food chain to whales and dolphins. The ecologists believe the future of the Killer or Orca whales is looking very bleak. They believe there is a very high extinction risk for killer whales as a species in industrialized regions of Europe.

Researchers found the marine mammals off the coasts of Europe have some of the highest levels of PCPs in the world. Especially Orca whales from Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, and Britain are highly endangered.

The levels of PCBs in Killer whales around the coast of America are notably lower. The US banned the PCBs back in 1979 almost a decade before the European community. The results of the study were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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