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Killer Whale Is Most Toxic Mammal in Arctic, Says WWF

Killer Whale Is Most Toxic Mammal in Arctic, Says WWF

Killer whales are the most toxic mammals in the
Arctic, riddled with household chemicals from around the world, the
environmental pressure group WWF said on Monday.

Scientists found that the blubber of killer whales, or Orcas, taken from a
fjord in Arctic Norway was full of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs),
pesticides and even a flame retardent often used on carpets.
The finding gives the whales the dubious distinction of ousting polar bears
as most polluted Arctic mammal.

"Killer whales can be regarded as indicators of the health of our marine
environment," said scientist Hans Wolkers. "The high levels of contaminants
are very alarming and clearly show that the Arctic seas are not as clean as
they should be."

PCBs are toxic and highly persistent. They used to be widely used in
electrical goods and refrigerators, but have been banned in countries around
the North Sea for several years.

They have even been found in the breast milk of Eskimos.

Brominated flame retardents have been linked with nerve disorders and
reproductive malfunction.

The research was funded by the WWF — now known only by its initials but
previously called the World Wide Fund for Nature.

"This research re-confirms that the Arctic is now a chemical sink," said WWF
campaign leader Colin Butfield. "Chemicals from products that we use in our
homes every day are contaminating Arctic wildlife."

He called on European Union ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to
bring in tough laws to curb the chemical industry.