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Sharks, dolphins store pollutants

4:02pm, November 28, 2006

From Montreal, at a meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Flame-retardant chemicals have become ubiquitous in the environment. A new study finds that in Florida's top saltwater predators, such as sharks, concentrations of these contaminants and other persistent industrial chemicals are high and increasing rapidly.

Researchers at the State University of New York at Albany and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Melbourne teamed up to measure flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and the electric-insulation compounds known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The scientists tested coastal-Florida fish and marine mammals.

Fat from prey fish such as perch contained on average about 43 parts per billion (ppb) of PBDEs. Shark species, however, averaged 750 ppb in their fat, and dolphins had 1,190 ppb. A few bull sharks and dolphins were contaminated with PBDE concentrations as high as 4,2

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