Great Lakes Environmental Directory Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes grants exotic species water pollution water export drilling environment Great Lakes pollution Superior Michigan Huron Erie Ontario ecology Great Lakes issues wetlands Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Great Lakes environment Great Lakes watershed water quality exotic species Great Lakes grants water pollution water export oil gas drilling environment environmental Great Lakes pollution Lake Superior Lake Michigan Lake Huron Lake Erie Lake Ontario Great Lakes ecology Great Lakes issues Great Lakes wetlands Great Lakes Resources Great Lakes activist Great Lakes environmental organizations Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat air pollution alien species threatened rare endangered species ecological Great Lakes information Success Stories Great Lakes Directory Home/News Great Lakes Calendar Great Lakes jobs/volunteering Search Great Lakes Organizations Take Action! Contact Us Resources/Links Great Lakes Issues Great Lakes News Article About Us Networking Services

Great Lakes Article:

Researchers Find Flame-Retardant Chemical in Mothers' Blood
Associated Press
03/12/03

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana University researchers have found a common chemical flame retardant in the blood of mothers and their newborn infants.

Levels of polybrominated diphenyl ether, or PBDE, in Indiana women and infants tested 20 times higher than levels reported in Sweden and Norway, where a ban on the chemical was slated to go into effect this year.

The study was published this week in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives. A companion study in California, also published this week, found similar levels of the chemical that is commonly used in foam furniture padding.

"Why is the U.S. high? We don't really know," said Ron Hites, a professor at IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs who was involved in the study along with IU chemists and doctors.

The scientists analyzed blood samples taken from 12 Indiana mothers and their babies' umbilical cords immediately after birth.

It is not the first time the chemical has been found in humans. In 1998, Swedish scientists reported that levels of PBDE in breast milk had increased 40-fold since 1972. And a study published in 2001 by the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that North American mothers have breast-milk PBDE levels at least 40 times the highest concentrations found in Sweden.

Little is known about the toxic nature of PBDE. Early studies in mice show it poses some of the same dangers as PCBs and DDT, which were banned in the United States decades ago for their myriad detrimental effects on animal and human health.

But those experiments involved relatively large amounts of PBDE given to animals over a short time. Nobody really knows how lower doses delivered over decades will affect humans.

Like PCBs and DDT, PBDE is a persistent organic pollutant, or POP. POPs can remain in the environment for years without breaking down. Some of these pollutants have such an affinity for fat that they build up in the bodies of both animals and humans from before birth until death.

Researchers plan plan additional studies of PBDE levels in mothers and babies, and Hites said he has obtained funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to look for the chemicals in archived fish samples from the Great Lakes.

This information is posted for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S. Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for
purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Great Lakes environmental information

Return to Great Lakes Directory Home/ Site Map