The Washington, D.C.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released a report that states polybrominated diphenyl ethers, chemicals commonly used in commercial goods as flame retardants since the 1970s, are found in all U.S. coastal waters and the Great Lakes with elevated levels near urban and industrial centers. Based on data from NOAA’s Mussel Watch Program, which has been monitoring coastal-water contaminants for 24 years, NOAA found New York’s Hudson Raritan Estuary had the highest overall concentrations of PBDEs. The highest PBDE measurements were found in shellfish taken from Anaheim Bay, Calif., and four sites in the Hudson Raritan Estuary. Watersheds that include the Southern California Bight; Puget Sound; the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico off the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., coast; and Lake Michigan waters near Chicago and Gary, Ind., also were found to have high PBDE concentrations. The full report can be downloaded at