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Alternative flame retardants leach into the environment

Supposedly safer chemicals are spotted in peregrine falcon eggs

SAN FRANCISCO — Two chemicals that are becoming widely used replacements for potentially toxic flame retardants in household products such as televisions and furniture have shown up in peregrine falcon eggs in California. The discovery, part of a larger study monitoring contaminants in wildlife, adds to evidence that these new flame retardants escape into and persist in the environment, as the original ones do.

While the replacement compounds were found in much smaller quantities than the flame retardants that have been on the market for years, their presence in bird eggs is cause for concern, said June-Soo Park of the California Environmental Protection Agency in Berkeley. Little is known about the toxicity of the replacement compounds and their potential to accumulate in people and wildlife, said Park, who presented the new research March 25 at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society.

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