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Scientists find industrial pollutants in Eastern Lake Erie carp
Date:1/21/2011

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Researchers from Upstate New York institutions, including the University at Buffalo, have documented elevated levels of two industrial pollutants in carp in eastern Lake Erie, adding to the body of scientific work demonstrating the lasting environmental effects of human activity and waste disposal on the Great Lakes.

The two contaminants the scientists studied were polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), manmade organic compounds once used in products including motor oils, adhesives, paints, plastics, pigments and dyes, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), a class of flame-retardants found in common household items including furniture, personal computers, consumer electronics and drapes.

Both PCBs and PBDEs may disrupt the functions of the endocrine system, which secretes hormones that regulate bodily processes such as growth and development, reproduction and response to stress.

The team examined a sample of 18 carp from eastern Lake Erie and detected both pollutants in all the fish. The greatest concentration of PBDE the investigators found was just over 100 nanograms per gram of fish lipid -- a relatively low amount.

Concentrations of PCBs were higher, reaching 15,000 nanograms per gram in the lipid of one specimen. In contrast, 18 "control" carp from two cleaner New York lakes had no detectable level of PCBs.

The peer-reviewed journal Chemosphere published the findings in September, and researchers are now expanding their work to include a second study on eastern Lake Erie examining PBDE levels in plankton; sportfish including steelhead, walleye, rainbow trout and smallmouth bass; and forage fish including emerald shiner, gobies, yellow perch and smelt.

The goal is to provide knowledge on how PBDEs move through the food web and bioaccumulate in fish, including both commercial and invasive species. The measurements researchers collect will provide baseline data for establishing consumption advisories an
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Contact: Charlotte Hsu
chsu22@buffalo.edu
716-645-4655
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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