Cancer in Sea Lions Linked to Toxic Chemicals: Are Humans at Risk Too?

After 20 years of research, the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California has discovered what is causing a pervasive and aggressive form of cancer in sea lions

According to recently published research, the MMC  has connected the fatal cancer with leaking barrels filled with chemicals that were dumped off the coast of Los Angeles, California in the 1960’s–the chemicals include DDT. MMT scientists discovered that those chemicals combined with the herpes virus in the sea lions can create this cancer.

“Roughly 24 to 25 percent of all adult California sea lions that we admit as patients will have cancer. Now it’s been found that there’s been leaking over the years and those chemicals are getting into the food chain.”

That food chain includes people as well…

“Now that we know they’re having this effect on a mammal, sea lions, which physiologically is very similar to us, then it’s highly likely that it can be having similar detrimental effects on us.”

-Dr. Padraig Duignan, chief pathologist at the MMC and a co-author of the study

 

 

Listen to the radio interview with scientists here.