Dr David Obendorf
Yes, Tony several persistent organic pollutants are present in the fat of Tasmanian platypus; these include the organochlorinne pesticides - DDT, DDE; the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and Dioxins. These aquatic mammals are at the top of the freshwater food chain. Platypus from large Hydro lakes like Lake Pedder contain these chemicals and the forensic signature of the PCB congeners present in the platypus fat from these sites is remarkably consistent with the commonly used coolant oils used in high voltage transformers - Aroclor 1254 and Clophen A50. There is reported data for significant industrial pollution with PCBs in central north Tasmania and there are a number of reports from road construction and maintenance workers that old transformer oils were applied to dirt roads in the vicinity of hydro-electric installations & water impoundments over many years “to settle dust”.
The PCB levels in platypus at Lake Pedder, in central north and north-west Tasmania were particularly high (up to 17.3 part per million!!!). The soil contamination at these hotspot locations would be substantial and lead to contamination of the lake ecology. These findings are reported in a PhD thesis submitted to UTAS in 2001 by Dr Niall Stewart. The totally unknown and untested human health risk relate to PCBs residues in freshwater trout that fishers catch and consume from these lakes.
Read more (Comment 53), Comment HERE