Dolphins Bear Heavy Loads Of Pollutants

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Dolphins are famous for their intelligence and playfulness, but environmental scientists also see them as sentinels for pollution in the ocean. Many marine mammals, such as dolphins, sit at the apex of food webs, so pollutant levels in their bodies reflect the amount of contaminants carried by their prey. To measure persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in marine environments along the coast of the southeastern U.S., a team of scientists has surveyed the chemicals’ concentrations in dolphin blubber (Environ. Sci. Technol., DOI: 10.1021/es1042244).

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