Medical advisers on the Faroes Islands have announced that pilot whales should no longer be consumed because dangerous levels of toxins have been found amongst the islanders.
Traditionally thousands of pilot whales are killed each year for consumption by the Faroese, despite opposition from anti-whaling groups.
Toxins found in high levels in the islanders include DDT derivatives, PCBs and mercury. Toxic levels of mercury are known to cause damage to fetal neural development and immunity in children, increased blood pressure and increased risk of parkinson’s disease; all of these symptoms have been found in the islanders.
The Faroese are not known to have contributed to the pollution in whales; the source of the toxins is widespread. However they have acknowledged the effect it is having on them and responded accordingly.