July 13, 2018

Agency Seeks Ways To Keep Fire Retardants Out Of Great Lakes

Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes. - Alen Ištoković/CC-BY-3.0

Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes.

Alen Ištoković/CC-BY-3.0

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A U.S.-Canadian agency is suggesting ways the two nations can help prevent flame-retardant chemicals from polluting the Great Lakes.

The International Joint Commission made the recommendations in a report Thursday. They're directed toward both federal governments as well as states, provinces, tribes and cities.

Flame retardants have been added to a variety of commercial and consumer products since the 1970s, including electronic devices, plastics, mattresses and carpets. They're highly toxic and found in all five of the Great Lakes, particularly Erie and Ontario.

The U.S. and Canada are developing a strategy for managing risks from the chemicals.

In its report, the IJC proposes finding alternative fire retardants that aren't toxic and working with producers on disposal and recycling methods that prevent existing chemicals from reaching the lakes and their tributaries.

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