Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) in the Artic Environment: Sources, Transport and Health Concerns for Fish, Wildlife and People

April 24, 2013
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are synthetic chemicals widely used to make materials, including fabrics and metals, stain resistant. PFCs are persistent organic pollutants that remain in the environment for long periods of time and accumulate in the bodies of fish, wildlife and people. PFCs have been linked to adverse health effects, including reproductive and developmental effects, endocrine disruption and certain cancers.

On this call hosted by CHE-Alaska, Dr. Craig Butt led a discussion of the biological fate of PFCs in the arctic, where he looked at PFCs in ringed seals and seabirds in the Canadian Arctic. Pam Miller, executive director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics, gave an update on international actions of the Stockholm Convention (POPs Treaty) to phase out these persistent chemicals.

Featured Speaker

Dr. Craig Butt, post-doctoral research fellow in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, investigates how classes of chemicals used as flame retardants and stain repellents enter the body, impact body systems and break down in people and wildlife. His current research uses mass spectrometry and novel in vitro techniques to investigate the potential for brominated flame retardants to disrupt the thyroid hormone system in humans. He completed his doctorate in environmental chemistry at the University of Toronto, where he investigated the fate of fluorinated stain repellents in arctic wildlife and fish. 

Carol Kwiatkowski, PhD, is executive director and senior research associate at The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX), a US based NGO dedicated to compiling and disseminating the scientific evidence on health and environmental problems caused by low level exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals. Dr. Kwiatkowski created the Critical Windows of Development website tool, a timeline of how the human body develops in the womb, paired with animal research showing when low-dose exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals during development results in altered health outcomes. Dr. Kwiatkowski’s training in behavioral science began at the College of William and Mary where she received her BA, followed by a doctorate from the University of Denver. 

The call lasted one hour and was recorded.