Researchers at NIST’s Hollings Marine Laboratory (HML) and four partner organizations have measured for the first time concentrations of 13 perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) in five endangered species of sea turtles. While PFC toxicology studies have not yet been conducted on turtles, the levels of the compounds seen in all five species approach the amounts known to cause unfavorable health effects in other animals. PFCs are man-made compounds that have many uses including stain-resistant coatings, fire-fighting foams and emulsifiers in plastics manufacturing. They are detectable in human and wildlife samples worldwide, infiltrate food chains, and have been shown in laboratory animals — rats, mice and fish — to be toxic to the liver, the thyroid, neurobehavioral function and the immune system. The PFCs most frequently found in the environment are perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).