High Levels of Toxic Fire Retardant, PFAS and PCB Chemicals Detected in Killer Whales

Scientific studies are starting to reveal an awful truth: Highly toxic, human-created industrial chemicals have a far-reaching effect.  It is not just humans whose bodies are filled with these contaminants which then get handed down to their offspring, but also marine mammals.  We have previously reported on other scientific findings revealing that toxic chemicals used in home care and personal care products have been found in seal pups, sea turtles, dolphins and sea lions. Now a new study reveals that toxic chemicals, more specifically those used as fire retardants (PBDE) on furniture, electronics and other products, and stain resistant and water-resistant chemicals (PFAS), used in cookware and bake ware products, carpet, flooring, shower curtains and a wide variety of other home products, are in the bodies of killer whales. PFAS chemicals have been linked to reproductive and endocrine effects in wildlife. Additionally, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which have long been banned, were detected in the blubber of 7 of the 8 killer whales in the study at levels that exceeded the proposed threshold for toxicological effects in marine mammals.

Journal reference: Andvik, C., et al.  High Levels of Legacy and Emerging Contaminants in Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) from Norway, 2015 to 2017, Journal of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, pp. 1-11, May, 2021.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.5064    Download pdf of research article here.