UF searches Indian River lagoon seagrass for ‘forever’ chemicals found in Florida manatees

Florida Today Article by Jim Waymer Jan 22, 2022

UF Searches Indian River Lagoon for ‘Forever’ Chemicals

Like us humans, manatees and alligators are what they eat, but with much stronger vegan or carnivore leanings, respectively.

So the toxic ‘forever’ chemicals John Bowden found in alligators’ blood near Kennedy Space Center and Patrick Space Force Base were no surprise. Firefighting foams linked to the chemicals had been used there for decades. And the long-lived compounds magnify up the food chain, especially in top carnivores like gators. The chemicals come from multiple consumer products and other sources that infiltrate our sewage, and they rear their ugly toxic effects everywhere Bowden looks.

But in manatees? How were so-called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) getting into the blood of a docile plant-eater, he wondered, at comparable levels to the alligators on the Space Coast?