HBCD is on the way out – but use of questionable alternatives will persist

This week, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving. But internationally, countries that have signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants have a different reason to give thanks: the amendment adding HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane) to Annex A (Elimination) takes effect today. Under Annex A of the Convention, countries have up to five years to eliminate uses of HBCD in plastic foam building insulation, and any insulation materials containing HBCD during that phase-out period will need to be labeled. HBCD is a persistent,…

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It all comes out in the wash

Flame retardant chemicals don’t stay put in products. A study published in Environmental Science & Technology reveals they are hitching a ride on our clothes and taking a detour through our laundry, on the road to our rivers. Flame retardants (FRs) are in the bodies of humans and animals, and in our waterways. One pathway to rivers and oceans is laundry water. FRs migrate from household products and accumulate on dust and clothing. When we wash our clothes the chemicals…

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Killer whales and the scientists working to save them

There is no documented case of a wild orca killing a human. It’s time we returned the favor by protecting the health, habitat, and viability of this highly intelligent, vocal, social and powerful species. Orca face many threats including degradation of their hunting habitats, overfishing of their food, disturbance from sea vessels, warming oceans, and chemical pollution. They are exposed to toxic chemicals, some of which have been banned for decades and some in current use. Dr. Peter Ross is…

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