Over 100 Contaminants Found in Maine Birds
Friday, April 25 2008 @ 10:46 PM EDT
Contributed by: terrytvgal
Overall, eagles carried the greatest contaminant load and, for many contaminants, had levels multiple times higher than other species
From: Main Environmental News March 27, 2008
The BioDiversity Research Institute recently released a new report documenting that over 100 harmful contaminants were found in Maine bird eggs.
Flame retardants (PBDEs), industrial stain and water repellants (PFCs), transformer coolants (PCBs), pesticides (OCs), and mercury were found in all 23 species of birds tested. The bird species studied live in a variety of habitats: on Maine’s ocean, salt marshes, rivers, lakes and uplands.
“This is the most extensive study of its kind to date and the first time industrial stain and water repellants were discovered in Maine birds,” says the report’s author, senior research biologist Wing Goodale.
Common loon, Atlantic puffin, piping plover, belted kingfisher, great black-backed gull, peregrine falcon and bald eagle had the highest contaminant levels. The flame retardant deca-BDE, banned last year in Maine, was found in eight species. Overall, eagles carried the greatest contaminant load and, for many contaminants, had levels multiple times higher than other species. Many of the contaminant levels recorded were above those documented to have adverse effects.
“These results are significant because many of these contaminants can interact to create effects more harmful than one toxic pollutant alone,” says Goodale, “and the pervasiveness of the pollutants strongly suggests that birds and wildlife in other states are also accumulating these contaminants.”
“Since we found that birds with high levels of one contaminant tended to have high levels of other contaminants, these compounds may cause top predators, such as bald eagles and peregrine falcons, to have greater difficulty hunting and caring for young,” Goodale adds.
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