The Last of the Killer Whales

By September 20, 2020 No Comments

The Last of the Killer Whales – Contamination beyond development

When investigating former industrial sites where electrical equipment (transformers and capacitors) have been used and manufactured, Killer Whales don’t often come to mind. However, a group of contaminants called Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) which often present on these sites have recently been in the news – for their harmful effects on UK resident Killer Whales.

It has long been known that these persistent chemicals affect creatures in seas and rivers. However, recent research carried out on a deceased killer whale found on UK shores has indicated concentrations of PCBs of 950 mg/kg within the whale’s tissues. That’s over 100 times above which damage to the health of marine mammals takes place. In addition, scientists found that the Killer Whale had never borne a calf and stacking evidence points to infertility caused by PCBs. Given that this Killer Whale was part of the last UK resident pod and no calves have been spotted in recent years, it may be too late to save Killer Whales in UK waters.

This evidence of mis-managed contamination on our shores only serves to reiterate the importance of protecting not only human health but our marine environment from harmful contamination.

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