Killer whales at risk for PCB plastic pollution


Half the population of killer whales could disappear in the next 50 years due to pollution from PCBs, toxic plastics that have been banned for decades, but still very present in the sea. This is supported by an international research published in the journal Science. 

The research took into consideration 351 specimens of orca. 
PCB concentrations 100 times higher than the risk threshold have been found in animals living around the most industrialized countries (Great Britain Strait of Gibraltar, Japan, Brazil, Pacific North East). The populations of these countries could disappear in the next 35-50 years. 

Minor concentrations have been found in animals living in the Arctic, further from sources of pollution.

Killer whales are at the top of the food chain and absorb all the plastics and chemicals consumed by smaller animals. The PCB damages the reproductive organs and the immune system and causes cancer. The plastic substance has been produced since the 30s for electrical components and paints and was banned from the seventies and eighties. 80% of the million tons produced, however, has not been destroyed and continues to end up in the sea from landfills.

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