Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Flame retardant chemical thins kestrel eggshells

Like DDT, the pesticide that devastated raptor populations before many governments banned it, flame-retarding chemicals called polybrominated diphenyl ethers or (PBDEs) thin the eggshells of American kestrels, says a report in Environmental Health News. Canadian Wildlife Service researchers found that when captive kestrels ate a diet high in PBDEs, they laid eggs later, had thinner eggshells, fewer fertile eggs and fewer surviving young. Chillingly, the levels of flame retardant in the eggs of kestrels given the highest doses were similar to that found in eggs of herring gulls and kestrels in the Great Lakes.
PBDEs do not break down in the environment and they accumulate int the bodies of creatures that live high on the food chain. One study found the chemical in the breast milk of Pacific Northwest women. Canada and Washington State have passed laws banning most forms of the chemical.

Via Watching Our Waterways

Photo from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

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