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NOAA reports coastal waters show decline in contaminants
Date:5/12/2008

the country where some of the highest concentrations of these chemicals were found, now shows 80 percent of monitored sites with significantly decreasing trends for this pollutant.

  • Tributyl-tin, a biocide used as a compound to reduce or restrict the growth of marine organisms on boat hulls, was found to have greater than anticipated consequences as it affected not only the targeted organisms, but also other marine and fresh water life as well. First regulated in the 1980s, this compound is now decreasing nationally.

    The NOAA Mussel Watch Program also quantifies contaminants that are still entering the nations waters and two major groups raise concern:

    • Oil related compounds (PAHs) from motor vehicles and shipping activities continue to flow into coastal waters daily. Because NOAA has been monitoring these areas for extended periods, baseline data already exist to help define the extent of environmental degradation. For example, PAH levels following the 2007 Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay showed concentrations at the monitoring site near the spill were the highest ever recorded.

    • Flame retardants known as PBDEs are a new class of contaminants currently being evaluated by NOAA to determine whether they are increasing in coastal waters and what effects they may have on both marine and human health. NOAA plans to issue a report on flame retardants in coastal waters later this year.

    NOAA's Mussel Watch Program, founded in 1986, is the nation's longest continuous national contaminant-monitoring program in U.S. coastal waters. The program keeps collected tissue samples frozen so that overlooked or newly emerging contaminants can be retroactively analyzed, as is currently being done with flame retardants.

    The Mussel Watch Program 20-year assessment is a concise and informative review of contaminant monitoring in the nation's coastal waters, said Jack Schwartz with Massachusetts M
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  • Contact: Ben Sherman
    ben.sherman@noaa.gov
    301-713-3066
    NOAA Headquarters
    Source:Eurekalert

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