Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Teflon Chemical Harming Turtles

The chemicals that keep food from sticking to frying pans are damaging the livers and immune systems of loggerhead turtles. This could also signal a danger for humans.

A team monitoring the blood plasma of loggerhead turtles along the U.S. East Coast consistently found significant levels of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which are used as nonstick coatings in a wide variety of goods including cookware, furniture fabrics, carpets, food packaging, fire-fighting foams and cosmetics. They are known to be toxic to the liver, reproductive organs and immune systems.

Blood chemistry analyses of the PFC-contaminated loggerheads suggested damage to liver cells and the immune function suppression. This indicates that current environmental PFC exposures, at concentrations similar to those seen in human blood samples, are putting marine species at risk -- and may pose a similar danger to humans.

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