Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

PFC Pollutant Harming Loggerhead Turtles, Could Also Signal Danger For Humans

Date:
February 22, 2008
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summary:
The same chemicals that keep food from sticking to our frying pans and stains from setting in our carpets (PFCs) are damaging the livers and impairing the immune systems of loggerhead turtles -- an environmental health impact that also may signal a danger for humans.

NIST research biologist Jennifer M. Keller taking a blood sample from a loggerhead turtle as part of her study looking at the health impacts of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) on the endangered marine reptile.
Credit: NIST

The same chemicals that keep food from sticking to our frying pans and stains from setting in our carpets are damaging the livers and impairing the immune systems of loggerhead turtles--an environmental health impact that also may signal a danger for humans.

Jennifer Keller, a researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, S.C., reported on Feb. 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that a scientific team monitoring the blood plasma of loggerhead turtles along the U.S. East Coast consistently found significant levels of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs).

PFCs are used as nonstick coatings and additives in a wide variety of goods including cookware, furniture fabrics, carpets, food packaging, fire-fighting foams and cosmetics. They are very stable, persist for a long time in the environment and are known to be toxic to the liver, reproductive organs and immune systems of laboratory mammals.

Keller said that in a 2005 study,* PFC concentrations measured in the plasma of turtles found along the coast from Florida to North Carolina indicated that PFCs have become a major contaminant for the species. The levels of the most common PFC, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), were higher in turtles captured in the north than in the south. Data recently evaluated by NIST and College of Charleston graduate student Steven O'Connell shows that this northern trend of higher PFOS concentrations continues up into the Chesapeake Bay.

Blood chemistry analyses of PFC-contaminated loggerheads suggested damage to liver cells and the suppression of at least one immune function which could lead to a higher risk of disease. To support the "cause-effect relationship" between PFCs and illness, the researchers exposed Western fence lizards to the same PFOS levels found in loggerheads in the wild. The lizards showed significant increases in an enzyme that indicates liver toxicity. They also had signs of suppressed immune function.

These findings, Keller said, indicate that current environmental PFC exposures--at concentrations comparable to those seen in human blood samples--are putting marine species at enhanced risk of health problems from reduced immunity and may suggest a similar threat to us.

Keller reported that a recently completed study** led by colleague Margie Peden-Adams of the Medical University of South Carolina that showed PFOS is toxic to the immune systems of mice at concentrations found both in loggerhead sea turtles and humans. The ability of the mouse immune system to respond to a challenge was reduced in half by PFOS--and this occurred at the lowest level of the compound ever reported for a toxic effect.

If our immune systems have a similar sensitivity to PFOS, Keller explained, humans could be immunocompromised from current environmental exposure to PFOS.

* J. M. Keller, K. Kannan, S. Taniyasu, N. Yamashita, R.D. Day, M.D. Arendt, A.L. Segars and J. R. Kucklick. Perfluorinated compounds in the plasma of loggerhead and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles from the southeastern coast of the U.S. Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 39, pp. 9101-9108 (2005).

** M.M. Peden-Adams, J.M. Keller, J.G. EuDaly, J. Berger, G.S. Gilkeson and D.E. Keil. Suppression of humoral immunity in mice following exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). Submitted for publication.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. "PFC Pollutant Harming Loggerhead Turtles, Could Also Signal Danger For Humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080219203510.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2008, February 22). PFC Pollutant Harming Loggerhead Turtles, Could Also Signal Danger For Humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080219203510.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology. "PFC Pollutant Harming Loggerhead Turtles, Could Also Signal Danger For Humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080219203510.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins