Matthew Denholm Australian

TWO new scientific reports suggest the Tasmanian devil, whose survival is threatened by a facial cancer, may be more sensitive than other animals to carcinogens in common pollutants. The reports were commissioned after test results, exposed by The Australian using Freedom of Information laws, showed the presence of carcinogenic pollutants in devil cells. While failing to find any link between the chemicals and the disease on the data available, both experts said devils may be affected by carcinogenic pollutants at lower levels than other animals. Michael Moore, director of the University of Queensland’s National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology, concluded “chemical exposure may contribute” to the development of the devil facial tumour disease. Professor Moore said the low levels of dioxins and PBDE chemicals used in flame retardants found in devil cells should not be high enough to weaken the immune system. The second expert consulted, Victorian-based veterinarian pathologist Tony Ross, agreed that chemical exposure could not be ruled out. “You can’t rule out chemicals in playing a role in the index case - the first case - and neither can you rule it in,” Dr Ross said.Read more here
On Tasmanian Times David Obendorf