New reports on the reach of toxic chemicals are as abundant as, well, dust on computer keyboards-which, a new study shows, is contaminated with flame-retardants that have been linked with neurological and reproductive health problems in lab animals. Other research (including this report from Sightline) has shown that the flame retardant chemicals, or PBDEs, are accumulating rapidly in the humans, marine mammals, and fish. They’re used in consumer products such as electronics, plastics, and foam. (A compilation of news coverage on PBDEs in household items is here.)
Meanwhile, the Anchorage Daily News notes that a depleted stock of Prince William Sound killer whales will earn special protection and a study to find out whether it can be saved from extinction. One possible reason for their decline: Several of the whales are carrying some of the highest levels of industrial contaminants ever measured in marine mammals. The whales’ favorite prey, the harbor seal, is declining, too.