English Channel dolphins carry 'toxic cocktail' of chemicals

BERLIN (AP) — Scientists say bottlenose dolphins in the English Channel harbor a "toxic cocktail" of chemicals, some of which have been banned for decades.

Belgian and French researchers said Thursday they have detected high accumulations of industrial fluids and mercury in the blubber and skin of the rare marine mammals off the northwest coast of France. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, found levels of pollutants that are similar to those measured in dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea and around Florida's Everglades.

Many of the chemicals have been banned since the 1970s and 1980s but persist in marine creatures, where they are passed through the food chain — including from lactating mothers to their calves.

The researchers said newborn survival rates of bottlenose dolphins in the Normanno-Breton Gulf may be affected by the chemicals.