Chemical levels in male walleye worry scientists

Capital News Service
LANSING — Male walleye in Saginaw Bay contain three times more flame retardant chemicals than females, a new study shows, and animal tests suggest that the chemicals could damage people’s liver, thyroid and brain. The reason: Male walleye hang out in the wrong places. “Males use the Saginaw River and its tributaries to feed in and for habitat, while the females mostly stay out in the bay,” said Charles Madenjian, a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey based in Ann Arbor, and the study’s lead author. The chemicals, polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDEs), have been used in plastics, foams and fabrics as flame-retardants since the 1970s, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The river empties into the bay near Essexville.