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Calif scientists use sea mammals to make toxic map

MOSS LANDING, Calif. (AP) — California marine scientists are collecting samples from sea mammals around the state to in an effort to create a map of toxic hot spots. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that Marine Mammal Center researchers plan to use 10 years of data collected from the stranded sea lions, seals and whales its saved to create a "disease map" of the coastal environment. Stephanie Hughes, a marine scientist who studies disease in seals, says the creatures are "samplers for the environment." Seals and other marine mammals live near humans and eat a lot of the same seafood. They store contaminants from the food in their blubber. Blubber samples show different contaminants depending on the area -- agriculture pesticides in Monterey Bay or flame retardants in San Francisco Bay.

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