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“A group of synthetic substances known as ‘forever chemicals’ because of their environmental persistence have been found in otters across England and Wales.

The study led by Cardiff University’s Otter Project analyzed historical data and found perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which have been linked to health problems in both humans and wildlife, in Eurasian otters.

It concludes this suggests ‘widespread pollution’ of British freshwaters today.

The study found most PFASs in otters were associated with wastewater treatment works or use of sewage sludge in farming, suggesting this was a ‘significant and concerning’ route into rivers.

The Cardiff researchers said studying contaminants in otters was vital to understanding potential health risks. Their study was published just days before a parliamentary report said no English river was free from pollution.

…Eurasian otters are top predators of British freshwaters and can act as strong indicators of the levels of these chemicals in the environment. In this study, analysis of livers from otters across England and Wales found PFASs in all 50 sampled. In more than 80%, 12 different types of PFASs were found.”…