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Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs)—industrial chemicals that have tainted drinking water supplies in locales across the world—are accumulating in large reptiles. In two studies, researchers at Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, S.C., and affiliated institutions found PFCs in the blood plasma of American alligators in the southeastern U.S. and African crocodiles in South Africa’s Kruger National Park (Chemosphere 2016, DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.03.072; Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2016, DOI: 10.1002/etc.3600). The reptiles, which can live for decades close to one body of water, have been used to identify mercury contamination. Future work with them could identify hotspots where drinking water warrants testing for PFCs, the authors say.
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