Plastics and Lobsters
Looking at lobster tissues in the laboratory, Laufer was surprised to find very high levels of alkylphenols, estrogenic chemicals used in the manufacture of plastics and rubber, in lobster tissues. They are antioxidants with phenolic resins, and also result from the breakdown of many manufactured products. Intrigued by this finding, Laufer also examined sediment samples from Martha's Vineyard and
Laufer believes that the alkylphenols were not present because of some greedy, midnight illegal dumper, but that they simply came through water treatment plants unscathed. So, "we," the producers, users, and discarders of plastic and rubber products, and the wastewater treatment methods we use, may be part of the shell disease problem. While Laufer stresses that the work is very preliminary, he believes that there may be a tie between these chemicals and susceptibility to shell disease. ...
I poked around on Sea Grant's website yesterday and this morning and was unable to find a date for the story, although it refers to something that happened in 2006, so it's not that old.
I also don't know (not that I checked too hard) if Laufer's work has been peer-reviewed yet. Nevertheless it seems like a pretty significant finding and I'm surprised the Hartford Courtant, New London Day and Providence Journal haven't picked it up yet.