Chemical contaminants in Maine’s wild birds

Maine’s Biodiversity Research Institute released results of a study yesterday which found over 190 chemical contaminants present in 23 species of birds studied across the state.

The highest level of contaminants were found in birds from the southern coastal region, but contaminants were found even in birds that feed many miles offshore and birds from more remote regions of the state.

Flame retardants (PBDEs), industrial stain and water repellants (PFCs), transformer coolants (PCBs), pesticides (OCs), and mercury were found in all 23 species of birds tested. The bird species studied live in a variety of habitats: on Maine’s ocean, salt marshes, rivers, lakes and uplands.“This is the most extensive study of its kind to date and the first time industrial stain and water repellants were discovered in Maine birds,” says report author senior research biologist Wing Goodale.

Although there was some good news, in that the presence of banned chemicals like PCBs and DDT, are lower, overall this is sad news for Maine wildlife and Maine people.

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