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Posted Fri Feb 22 2008: from American Chemical Society:
Translation: Earthworms and transmission of toxins
"Earthworms are an important link in transporting environmental contaminants from soil to other organisms in terrestrial food webs. Large molecules (>0.95 nm), such as PBDEs, are thought to not readily cross membranes, and thus do not accumulate in organisms. However, earthworms have been shown to accumulate contaminants of considerable size (8), including significant bioaccumulation from sludge-amended soils with mean biota-soil accumulation factors (BSAFs) of 4-8 for BDE-47, -99, and -100 (7). Similarly, studies of the aquatic worm, Lumbriculus variegatus, in PBDE-spiked sediments gave BSAFs of 3 for BDE-47 and -99 (9)."
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Translation: "Worms were thought not to gather toxins from human-sewage sludge. However, that idea was wrong, even though we sell human-sewage sludge to farmers these days."
What that implies: every early bird who gets the worm also gets concentrated toxins. It's as if the "prime soil predator" was concentrating toxins, not unlike bats (for prime air predator) and killer whales (prime ocean predator), concentrating toxins.

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