News Stories

Soapy Dolphins

Dolphins are dying from lots of different causes, and one of the strangest of these is soap.

Germ-killing antibacterial soaps, such as the kind often used to wash dishes, are being misused and can even lead to superbug infections in people. But they're even worse for dolphins: As the suds flow into the oceans, the main substance in them, triclosan, is ingested by these mammals. Traces of it have been found in 25% of the dolphins tested in Florida, which is not surprising, since in the US, 76% of liquid soaps and 26% of bar soaps contain it.

In Scientific American, Brett Israel reports that many people in the US have triclosan in their urine and it has been found in breast milk of Swedish women. The concentrations reported in humans are similar to those found in dolphins. Scientists aren't sure what effect this substance has on humans (or dolphins), but they suspect it's not a good one.

Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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