SFGate: Chemicals’ phaseout a ‘success story’ for S.F. Bay wildlife

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Ten years after government regulations forced an industry phaseout of once common but toxic flame retardants, a new study of San Francisco Bay has shown a steep decline in the presence of the chemicals in the bay’s wildlife.

A decade ago, the chemicals known as PBDEs were recorded in the bay at higher pollution levels than anywhere else in the world, but state and federal curbs that began in California in 2003 have averted a hazard that could have damaged bay birds, shellfish and fish for years to come, the study researchers said.

“This is quite a success story,” said Rebecca Sutton, the study’s lead author and senior scientist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute, which tracks chemicals in the bay. “We tie these results directly to the phaseout.”

Jane Kay