19 Jul The Effects of Flame Retardants on Microorganisms in the Marine Environment
Flame retardants (FRs) are often used in extinguishing forest fires. However, their ecological consequences are often overlooked. After use, FRs wash into nearby drainage basins. They contain biologically available nutrients to marine microbes and may disrupt the food web. FRs may affect relations between microbes and disrupt the system’s balance due to different absorption rates between species. These effects are magnified in low nutrient environments, such as the Mediterranean. As part of this project, an experiment was conducted, simulating a marine FR pollution event. The results show that FRs may act as a fertilizer or be toxic, depending on its concentration. While FRs are necessary during emergencies, they affect the marine ecosystem and must be prevented from washing to the sea.
Noa Rachel Gonen