Orcas most polluted Arctic mammal

December 12, 2005

Orcas, or killer whales, reportedly have passed the polar bear to become the most contaminated mammal in the Arctic.

Norwegian scientists say no other arctic mammals have ingested as much hazardous man-made chemicals, the BBC reported Monday.

Scientists at the Norwegian Polar Institute said they tested blubber samples taken from killer whales and found pesticides, flame retardants and PCBs.

The World Wildlife Fund in London told the BBC the Arctic has become a chemical sink, and the Norwegian findings should lead the European Union to pass strong legislation when member nations meet this week.

But the WWF said it fears pressure from the chemical industry could hinder or prevent effective laws from being enacted.

Orcas are the largest member of the dolphin family, with an average male growing to 23 feet and weighing as much as 10 tons.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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