The new findings are in contrast to analysis of samples as far back as 1996 that identified PBDEs in only a limited number of sites around the nation.
Based on data from NOAA’s Mussel Watch Program, which has been monitoring coastal water contaminants for 24 years, the nationwide survey found that New York’s Hudson Raritan Estuary had the highest overall concentrations of PBDEs, both in sediments and shellfish. Individual sites with the highest PBDE measurements were found in shellfish taken from Anaheim Bay, Calif., and four sites in the Hudson Raritan Estuary.
Watersheds that include the Southern California Bight, Puget Sound, the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico off the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. coast, and Lake Michigan waters near Chicago and Gary, Ind. also were found to have high PBDE concentrations.
“This is a wake-up call for Americans concerned about the health of our coastal waters and their personal health,” said John H. Dunnigan, NOAA assistant administrator of the National Ocean Service. “Scientific evidence strongly documents that these contaminants impact the food web and action is needed to reduce the threats posed to aquatic resources and human health.”
PBDEs are man-made toxic chemicals used as flame retardants in a wide array of consumer products, including building materials, electronics, furnishings, motor vehicles, plastics, polyurethane foams and textiles since the 1970s. A growing body of research points to evidence that exposure to PBDEs may produce detrimental health effects in animals, including humans. Toxicological studies indicate that liver, thyroid and neurobehavioral development may be impaired by exposure to PBDEs. They are known to pass from mother to infant in breast milk.
Similar in chemical structure to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, they have raised concerns among scientists and regulators that their impacts on human health will prove comparable. PBDE production has been banned in a number of European and Asian countries. In the U.S., production of most PBDE mixtures has been voluntarily discontinued.
The NOAA Mussel Watch survey found that the highest concentrations of PBDEs in the U.S. coastal zone were measured at industrial and urban locations. Still, the chemicals have been detected in remote places far from major sources, providing evidence of atmospheric transport. Significant sources of PBDEs introduction into the environment include runoff and municipal waste incineration and sewage outflows. Other pathways include leaching from aging consumer products, land application of sewage sludge as bio-solids, industrial discharges and accidental spills.
NOAA and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project have recently held meetings with representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the California State Water Resources Control Board to discuss water quality monitoring of emerging contaminants. NOAA’s research and monitoring information found in this report will be used by relevant resource managers to better understand, assess and address the threats from PBDEs.
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.
Ben Sherman | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > Coastal > Electronics > Great Lakes > NOAA > PBDE > Plastics > Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers > Water > building material > building materials > coastal water contaminants > coastal waters > consumer products > ecosystems > flame retardants > furnishings > human health > monitoring of emerging contaminants > motor vehicles > mussel > polychlorinated biphenyls > polyurethane foams > sediments and shellfish > textiles
Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
27.06.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.06.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.06.2017 | Life Sciences