Cattle Feed DisasterI came across this article, Researcher: PBB from 1970s still in Michiganders’ blood by  Robin Erb, Detroit Free Press, December 28, 2014.

It is one of the most horrific stories of feed contamination I have ever read. Some of you may have remembered this story. Here is a short summary of the incident.

Laboratory tests suggest that countless Michiganders who consumed milk and beef with a compound known as PBB during one of the worst agricultural disasters in history might still carry in their bodies high levels of the man-made molecule. That chemical, polybrominated biphenyl, was reclassified last year by an international group of scientists as “probably carcinogenic” to humans. Source: Researcher: PBB from 1970s still in Michiganders’ blood by Robin Erb, Detroit Free Press, December 28, 2014

Here are the latest findings regarding this disaster.

New research findings

What has been called the poisoning of Michigan and began in the 1973, when a dock worker in St. Louis, Mich., accidentally mixed FireMaster, a flame retardant containing PBB, into cattle feed.

Within months, Michigan farmers began reporting mysterious deformities of their cattle and grotesquely deformed and stillborn calves.

PBB are closely related to PCBs, a better-known class of chemicals known for their toxicity to humans, and both eventually were banned by most industrial nations.

But experts have long worried that PBB doesn’t break down quickly, either in the ground or in a human body.

For a complete summary, read the article in the Detroit Free Press, December 28, 2014.

It is a huge reminder how fast our food supply can be contaminated and the damaging and lasting effect it can have for a long period of time.

photo credit: USDAgov via photopin cc

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