Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) in the Great Lakes Basin: Reducing Risks to Human Health and the Environment


General Objective iv of the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement states that the waters of the Great Lakes should “be free from pollutants in quantities or concentrations that could be harmful to human health, wildlife, or aquatic organisms, through direct exposure or indirect exposure through the food chain.” A class of flame retardants known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, has been found at levels that could be harmful to human health in the Great Lakes basin. Of particular concern is the presence of PBDEs in fish consumed by anglers and their families. Subsistence anglers, in particular indigenous peoples, are at greatest risk.

International Joint Commission