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PCBs Am i right?

  1. Dec 18, 2007 #1
    so i heard PCBs (Poly-Chlorinated biphenyls) are killing belugas because they are fat saluble and carcenigenic(correct my spelling for me) so pretty much they're dying from cancer right? so could we use them to find a cure for cancer?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2007 #2


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    PCBs are fat soluble and belugas get quite a dose because they eat crustanceans which live on the bottom of polluted rivers and so build up a lot of nasty chemicals.

    Belugas seem to be fairly insenstive to the amount of chemicals they absorb. How carcinogenic PCBs are is not very well established.
  4. Dec 19, 2007 #3

    jim mcnamara

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    beluga whales are cetaceans - porpoises, whales, orcas, and company.

    The point is that PCB's interfere with reproduction in a lot of these mammals. These mammals concentrate PCB's because of two reasons:
    1. they eat near or at the top of the food chain
    2. they have a thick layer of subcutaneous fat for insulation.

    The problem for these mammals does not appear to be cancer, although PCB's are carcinogenic in mice, for example. Dead orcas in areas around Puget Sound are treated as a hazmat item because PCB's concentrations are high, and those with highest PCB levels do not reproduce well and tend to die younger.

    Since you don't seem to be a scientist here is a newspaper version of what I'm talking about:
    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/69418_whale07.shtml [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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