Save the killer whales

Canadian and U.S. researchers recently released disturbing results of a study of Puget Sound orcas, showing that the region’s young killer whales have significantly higher amounts of man-made flame-retardant chemicals in their bodies than older generations.

In fact, tests published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin show several of the young animals have about double the amount of the toxins that their elders have. According to The Seattle Times, the results of the study surprised researchers who were under the impression that orcas become more contaminated with age as they ingest food containing chemicals such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).

The chemical remains legal despite reports that it has been known to disturb thyroid functions of marine animals and hurt brain functions of other species. Scientists suspect much of the toxin was ingested through nursing when the animals were calves.