Sea Turtle, © Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock

Sad News for Sea Turtles

Toxic levels of pollutants are putting endangered sea turtles at risk, according to a recent report from Science Daily News. Chemicals from consumer products like stain-fighting coatings and flame-resistant materials make their way to the sea, where they are ingested by filter feeders like mussels and sponges.

When sea turtles eat these animals, the toxins accumulate in the turtle’s tissues and can poison them causing symptoms such as suppressed immunity, thyroid disruption, and liver and neurological damage.

The researchers, from the Hollings Marine Laboratory along with the College of Charleston’s Grice Marine Laboratory, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and the Loggerhead Marine life Center, worry that these sea turtles could be in serious danger. Oil spills and shrimp trawling nets already threaten their survival.

In the hope that such a study could help conservationists prepare for these new threats, researchers focused on Kemp’s ridley, leather back, hawksbill, loggerhead, and green turtles. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists all five species as endangered.

To find out more about these species at risk, visit Defender’s website.