There is hardly an animal on earth that has not been exposed to a cocktail of toxic man-made chemicals. They are the undeserving recipients of our poisons.
The picture that is emerging from new scientific research on wildlife and chemicals is a disturbing one, and it does little to reassure us that chemical effects are benign.
Here are just some of the effects on wildlife:
Birds - Hundreds of pet birds are estimated to be killed each year by the fumes and particles emitted from Teflon-coated products.
Otters and mink - widespread declines of Great Lakes mink, Canadian otter and other species have been recorded in North America and western Europe. PCBs and dioxins are suspected, and studies of farmed and laboratory mink provide supporting evidence.
Dolphins - PFOS, classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a cancer-causing chemical, has been found in dolphins and tuna in the Mediterranean and in sea eagles and salmon in the Baltic. In one test for this chemical conducted in 1979, it was given to monkeys and killed them all within weeks.
Fish - Chemical pollution can cause hormone disruption. The best-known effect is the feminising of male fish, which start producing eggs in their testes.
Crustaceans - brominated flame retardants are highly toxic to crustaceans. They have also been found in sperm whales and, recently, in the eggs of peregrine falcons.
Caimans - Bisphenol A, used to make plastic bottles and many other plastic products, caused sex reversals in broad-snouted caiman - an alligator native to South America. It has also caused reproductive malformations in quail and chicken embryos.