For the first time, traces of phthalates have been found in the urine of bottlenose dolphins that inhabit the coast of Florida. They were found in 12 out of 17 examined animals in the period from 2016 to 2017gg. It is known that getting into the human body, these chemicals can cause serious violations in the endocrine and reproductive system up to some types of cancer. Studies conducted on animals and humans have revealed that phthalates weaken the action of testosterone, the main male hormone of vertebrates and a person that stimulates the function of male genital organs and the development of secondary sexual characteristics.
Since dolphins are considered “sensitive sensors” of the environment, this message is from a series of bleak news about the pollution of the World Ocean. American scientists write that there is no information on the effects of phthalates on the organism of marine life yet, although previous studies on fish and crustaceans have indicated their influence on the metabolism and synthesis of hormones. According to one version, the compounds enter the bottlenose dolphins, when they eat algae, fish and invertebrates. Phthalates can also contaminate water as the plastic breaks down.
Experts intend to continue research: it is necessary to establish how phthalates affect the condition of animals and how they spread in the environment, and for this, more constant monitoring of the health of marine life is needed, GeoHealth reports. One thing is clear: the source of these compounds entering the water is human activity.
Phthalates act as plasticizers. These are substances that are introduced into the composition of polymer materials to give elasticity or plasticity during processing and operation, and are therefore widely used in the manufacture of various consumer products, for example, in the packaging of shampoos, cleaning products, household chemicals, nail varnishes. In addition, they are used in the manufacture of building materials, products for children, medical equipment: catheters, all kinds of containers for blood and other materials, the shell of certain medicines. As additives they are present in cosmetics. And how much chemistry with wastewater enters the ocean – this is already becoming a talk in the city …