Plastic pollution

Phthalates Found in Aleutian Island Seabirds

The chemicals that Padula looks for in sea birds are called phthalates. They are a family of chemicals used to make plastic more flexible, and they can leach into the muscle and liver tissues of birds.

Padula found those chemicals in all of the birds she collected in the west Aleutians. But only some birds had visible pieces of plastic in their stomach.

Microplastics Found in Birds of Prey

“The implications are obvious and severe,” said Jim Elliott, director of the Center for Birds of Prey, about the discovery of the repellents and retardants in all 27 birds sampled among eagles, hawks and owls. “Who’s next on the (food chain) ladder? It’s us.”