A new study from the University of Illinois says pollutants that have long been banned in the state are still showing up in river otters. The study says otters collected in recent years have had high concentrations of pesticides such as dieldrin and other chemicals including polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. Nohra Mateus-Pinilla is a wildlife epidemiologist and the principal study investigator. Researchers focused on otters because they're at the top of the aquatic food chain and a good species to monitor to see what other aquatic life is being exposed to. Dieldrin is derived from another pesticide, Aldrin, which was banned in 1987. Dieldrin affects brain development in human fetuses and in some studies has been linked to cancer.
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