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In a study, recently published in the journal Environmental Pollution, Eric Montie, a University of South Florida scientist who did most of his research while a doctoral student at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, found high levels of man-made chemicals in the brains and fluid surrounding the brains of marine mammals.
Scientists have known for a while that dangerous compounds like the pesticide DDT, the insulating material PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) and the flame retardant PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) accumulate in the fatty tissue of mammals, particularly top-of-the-food-chain predators that eat chemical-laden prey.
Montie tested for the presence of 170 chemicals in brain and cerebrospinal fluid he'd collected from the stranded animals. He found exceptionally high levels of both the widely used flame retardant PBDE and a form of PCB.