Date: July 11, 2018
Source: Indiana University
Scientists have raised concerns for decades about toxic chemicals in the environment that accumulate in the tissues of birds, fish and other animals. New research from Indiana University that examined bald eagles suggests that's only part of the story.
A study led by IU environmental scientists finds that chemicals used in flame retardants, plasticizers and other commercial products are broken down through the process of metabolism into other compounds. Researchers say not enough is known about the dangers posed by those compounds, known as metabolites.
"Most of these flame retardants and related chemicals can be readily metabolized," said Marta Venier, a scientist in the IU Bloomington School of Public and Environmental Affairs and one of the authors of the study. "The issue here is that, in some cases, the metabolites can be more toxic than the parent compounds."
The study was published in Environmental Science & Technology. Authors, in addition to Venier, are William Stubbings, Jiehong Guo and Kevin Romanak of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Kendall Simon and William Bowerman of the University of Maryland, College Park.