A chemical formerly used in pesticides and more recently in carpet-cleaning products has turned up in the blood of North America’s dolphins, pike and cormorants for the first time. They all tested positive for perfluorophosphinic acids, one class of a common industrial chemical group used for a variety of purposes, including non-stick cooking surfaces since the 1950s. Even though the United States restricts use of these compounds, Canada permits them.
Amila De Silva, an environmental chemist with Environment Canada decided to look into the chemicals knowns as PFPIAs because little is known about them, even though they are widely used in pesticides. Scientists already know similar chemicals persist in the environment for a long time and concentrate in animals higher up the food chain. De Silva and her team examined bottlenose dolphin samples between 2004 to 2009 from Sarasota Bay in Florida and Charleston Harbor,South Carolina – they found PFPIAs in every blood sample that they looked at. The findings from the study have have been published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.