Mother Porpoises Pass Toxic “Chemical Cocktail” To Calves

Dec. 18, 2019
Baby porpoises off the coast of the UK are being exposed to toxic chemicals in their mothers’ milk.

For baby porpoises in the waters off the coast of the UK, mothers’ milk is not the healthy resource typically assumed. According to an article from The BBC, mother porpoises are passing a toxic “chemical cocktail,” which includes the most potent and dangerous pollutants, to their calves during a critical phase of development.  

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) linger in the environment and accumulate in the bodies of whales, dolphins and porpoises, according to the article. A research study examined levels of PCBs in harbor porpoises stranded off the coasts of Scotland, England and Wales and determined that juveniles had the highest levels of chemicals considered to be the most toxic to the brain and nervous system. While the porpoise population currently remains stable, according to the article, a serious threat from the chemicals remains for the area’s scant killer whale population. One orca found dead off Scotland in 2016 reportedly contained among the highest levels of PCBs ever recorded.

Read the entire article here.

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