Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Flame Retardants Link to Tasmanian Devils Cancer

A study conducted by the Australian government's National Measurement Institute took samples of fat from 16 living and dead Tasmanian devils, some of which suffered from the fatal devil facial-tumor disease (DFTD). DFTD forms disfiguring tumors on the animals' faces and necks that cause them to die from starvation within about six months of showing symptoms. The scientists found "high" levels of hexabromobiphenyl ether and "reasonably high" levels of decabromobiphenyl ether—chemicals used to treat electronics, textiles, and furniture. The find triggered local media reports suggesting that the chemicals might be linked to the mysterious cancer that has been killing the rare marsupials for more than a decade. Source: National Geographic

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