Types of Toxins PCBs PBDEs Mercury
PCBs polychlorinated biphenyls Used in plastics and electronics Banned in US in 1979 Severe liver damage leading to cancer Hormonal imbalances leading to breast cancer
PBDEs Polybrominated diphenyl ethers • Causes: • Endocrine Disruption • Developmental defects Flame retardants used in: Computers Televisions Cars Furniture Fabrics Foam Mattresses
Mercury Found in: Household switches, thermostats Household lamps Button-shaped batteries Latex paint produced before 1992 Coal-burning power plants
Mercury Neurological Damage Immune System Suppression Minamata Disease
Bioaccumulation Conservative Pollutants cannot be broken down by bacteria so they stay in the animal and concentrate higher up the food chain.
Mercury Levels in Fish Seafood with mercury levels over 1.0 ppm is considered unsafe for human consumption King Mackerel ~ 0.3-1.67 ppm Swordfish ~ 0.1-3.22 ppm Tilefish ~ 0.65-3.73 ppm Shark ~ 0.05-4.54 ppm Source of data: FDA 1990-2004, "National Marine Fisheries Service Survey of Trace Elements in the Fishery Resource" Report 1978,"The Occurrence of Mercury in the Fishery Resources of the Gulf of Mexico" Report 2000
Biomagnification Animals at the highest trophic levels obtain the highest levels of pollutants.
Toxic Top 10 Bottlenose dolphin Orca Risso’s dolphin Harbor seal Beluga Mediterranean monk seal Common dolphin Gray seal Polar bear Stellar’s sea eagle