Either dolphins are secretly using moisturizers or human behavior has once again spilled over into the natural environment. ‘Evidence of exposure to phthalates, chemical compounds used in hundreds of consumer products, has been found in resident bottlenose dolphins in Sarasota Bay, Florida. Some phthalates have been linked to reproductive problems in humans.’ What effect they will have on dolphins and other marine mammals is still under investigation.
Endocrine disruptors found in bottlenose dolphins
The new research found evidence of exposure to these chemical compounds, called phthalates, in 71 percent of dolphins tested in Sarasota Bay, Florida during 2016 and 2017. Previous studies detected phthalate metabolites in the blubber or skin of a few individual marine mammals, but the new study is the first to document the additives in the urine of wild marine mammals.
Some phthalates have been linked to hormonal, metabolic and reproductive problems in humans, including low sperm count and abnormal development of reproductive organs. The study’s authors do not know what health impacts phthalate compounds may have on dolphins, but the presence of byproducts of the chemicals in the animals’ urine indicates they have remained in the body long enough to process them…
Phthalate compounds are added to a wide variety of products to confer flexibility, durability, and lubrication. Some phthalates interfere with body systems designed to receive messages from hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. This can disrupt natural responses to these hormone signals.
Read more of the study overview here. See link to full study below.
Journal Reference: Leslie B. Hart, Barbara Beckingham, Randall S. Wells, Moriah Alten Flagg, Kerry Wischusen, Amanda Moors, John Kucklick, Emily Pisarski, Ed Wirth. Urinary Phthalate Metabolites in Common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Sarasota Bay, FL, USA. GeoHealth, 2018; DOI: 10.1029/2018GH000146