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Chemical sneaks into Great Lakes
A little-studied fire retardant has accumulated in Great Lakes sediment and game fish for decades without detection, according to new research.
The discovery about Dechlorane Plus, which went into production in 1964, surprised federal regulators.
"If this was a brand-new chemical, it would probably never get through" the testing process to allow its commercial use, Linda Birnbaum, a leading U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expert on toxic chemical effects, told the journal Environmental Science & Technology for a Jan. 4 article about the study.
Occidental Chemical Corp. (OxyChem) says it is safe for people and other animals and has no plans to conduct testing on the product, which is manufactured at a plant in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Federal regulators say because Dechlorane Plus preceded regulations designed to screen out dangerous chemicals, it was never rigorously tested.