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Dr. Arlene Blum (Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute) provided this report from the 11th Annual Workshop on Brominated Flame Retardants. This is a topic that that deserves more of our attention than it currently gets.
I am just back from an informative and fun Brominated Flame Retardant meeting in Ottawa where I presented my talk, Do Flame Retardants Save Lives? How Peer-Reviewed Science Can Impact Regulatory Decision-Making.
Upcoming Fire Retardant Dilemma symposia hosted by GSP will be held in August in Beijing and the next will be on September 25th at U.C. Berkeley.
I’m attaching the abstracts from the BFR meeting. There were presentations showing levels of fire retardant chemicals in albatross, kestrals, belugas, stellar sea lions, snapping turtles, great blue herons, and a variety of other animals and birds.
Scientists reported on connections between exposure to fire retardant chemicals and indicators of reproductive success such as smaller broods, thinner egg shells, changes to courtship behavior, decrease copulation rates, fewer pairs laying eggs, decrease in parental care, smaller reproductive organs, delays in puberty, and others in a variety of species. Although some of the species are in decline, it is difficult to make a causal connection between chemical exposure and health impacts.
Some connections between PBDE levels and hormonal changes in humans were documented as well as higher PBDE levels in beef, pork, chicken, and turkey from California compared to other states. Also levels in sediments, biosolids, lake water and sewage sludge were reported.
All this information is motivational for our work to bring science into regulatory processes to reduce the use of toxic chemicals.
The next BFR meeting will be in Kyoto Japan in April, and I’m planning to attend. More information at http://www.bfr2010.com/
On another note, Obama has nominated Paul Anastas to be EPA Asst Administrator for Research and Development. Paul Anastas is an outstanding green chemist. This should help toxics be included in the national environmental agenda.
More at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/President-Obama-Announces-More-Key-Administration-Posts-5-21-09/
Arlene Blum PhD
Visiting Scholar, Chemistry
University of California, Berkeley
Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute
Telephone: 510 644-3164 Mobile: 510 919-6363
Web: www .greensciencepolicy.org, www.arleneblum.com
Green Science Policy Institute
The Green Science Policy Institute provides unbiased scientific information to government, industry, and non-governmental organizations to facilitate more informed decision-making about chemicals used in consumer products in order to protect health and environment world-wide.