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Health and Environmental Effects Research

ORD Researchers Present Symposium on Chemical Threats to Raptors

Raptors are integrative sentinels of chemical exposure to wildlife because of their mobility and position atop both terrestrial and aquatic food chains. As such, these birds of prey played a key role in the dawn of public understanding of the potential dangers of pesticides during the DDT era.

With financial support from EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), NHEERL Mid-Continent Ecology Division (MED) researchers and EPA risk assessors presented a symposium with scientists from academia and nongovernmental organizations on “Pesticides and Metals in Raptors” at the 2011 Annual Conference of the Raptor Research Foundation, October 5-9, in Duluth, MN. In general, this symposium summarized chemical threats to the world’s raptors. More specifically, the symposium included a keynote address by Dr. Steven Bradbury, OPP Director, on wildlife risk assessment for pesticides and presentations on a wide range of chemical threats to raptors: legacy contaminants (organochlorines and PCBs), current threats (mercury, lead, rodenticides, and illegal use of carbamates), and chemicals of emerging concern (flame retardants and pharmaceuticals). MED researchers are working with symposium participants to explore the production of a current review and synthesis of chemical threats to raptors for publication in the Journal of Raptor Research. This work supports the ORD Administrator’s Priorities of Assuring the Safety of Chemicals and Protecting America’s Waters.

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