Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary have been reported to have dental and bone abnormalities. To determine whether these lesions could be caused by high exposure to fluorides, we measured bone fluoride levels in eight beluga whales stranded on the shores of the St. Lawrence Estuary (Quebec, Canada), and in nine beluga whales killed by Inuit hunters in the Hudson Bay (North Western Territories, Canada). In both groups, fluoride concentrations were higher than those found in terrestrial mammals intoxicated by fluorides. Unexpectedly, fluoride concentration was significantly higher in beluga whales from the Hudson Bay (X̄ ± SD: 10,365 ± 1,098 ppm) than in beluga whales from the St. Lawrence Estuary (4,539 ± 875 ppm) and was positively correlated with age in the latter population. Differences in diet might explain the differences in fluoride concentrations found between these two populations.
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