A new reason to ban whaling: your health
November 28, 2008
Health officials have recommended a ban on the eating of pilot whales, a traditional food source, in the Faroe Islands, reports New Scientist. The build-up of toxins — which bioaccumulate up the food chain as predators feed on tainted organisms — have rendered whale meat harmful to humans.
In a statement chief medical officers Pál Weihe and Høgni Debes Joensen announced that pilot whale tissue contains too much mercury, PCBs and DDT derivatives to be fit for human consumption.
"It is with great sadness that this recommendation is provided," they said in the statement. "The pilot whale has kept many Faroese alive through the centuries."
The contamination of the Faroes' food supply is not the result of local activities — it stems from global pollution from industrial and agricultural sources.
Debora MacKenzie. Faroe islanders told to stop eating ‘toxic’ whales New Scientist 28 November 2008