The commonly used flame retardant chemicals polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) used in building materials and textiles are finding their way into coastal ecosystems in South Florida, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study released in April. Most U.S. manufacturers have discontinued use of PBDEs voluntarily, and production of the chemicals is banned in several European and Asian countries. PBDEs, toxics found (in separate studies) in both mussels and sharks, bioaccumulate in tissues of aquatic species. Commercial fishing in Florida generated $576 million in 2007, and recreational fishing an estimated $16.7 billion in economic benefit. For more information, visit www.noaa.gov.
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