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Flame Retardants Found in Children's Furniture

November 20, 2013 Children’s chairs, couches and other kids’ furniture purchased from Walmart, Target, Kmart, Toys” R” Us/Babies “R” Us, buybuy Baby and other major retailers throughout the U.S. and Canada were tested and found to have harmful toxic flame retardant chemicals linked to infertility, thyroid disease, cancer, other serious health problems. Modern studies show that they do not provide fire safety benefits in furniture and make fires more toxic and dangerous with soot and smoke. More

Flame Retardants - A Call for Policy Change

November 6, 2013 Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI), an organization of physicians and public health professionals, is releasing its research report today calling for state and federal governments to institute new policies to protect the public from flame-retardant exposures. Flame-retardants are now ubiquitous in our environment. They are found in almost all consumer products and pose health risks to fetuses, infants, children and the human population as a whole. Read Report

Temporal Comparison of PBDEs, OH-PBDEs, PCBs, and OH-PCBs in the Serum of Second Trimester Pregnant Women Recruited from San Francisco General Hospital, California

September 30, 2013 Prenatal exposures to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) can harm neurodevelopment in humans and animals. In 2003–2004, PentaBDE and OctaBDE were banned in California and phased-out of US production; resulting impacts on human exposures are unknown. We previously reported that median serum concentrations of PBDEs and their metabolites (OH-PBDEs) among second trimester pregnant women recruited from San Francisco General Hospital (2008–2009; n = 25) were the highest among pregnant women worldwide. We recruited another cohort from the same clinic in 2011–2012 (n = 36) and now compare serum concentrations of PBDEs, OH-PBDEs, polychlorinated biphenyl ethers (PCBs) (structurally similar compounds banned in 1979), and OH-PCBs between two demographically similar cohorts. Between 2008–2009 and 2011–2012, adjusted least-squares geometric mean (LSGM) concentrations of ∑PBDEs decreased 65% (95% CI: 18, 130) from 90.0 ng/g lipid (95% CI: 64.7, 125.2) to 54.6 ng/g lipid (95% CI: 39.2, 76.2) (p = 0.004); ∑OH-PBDEs decreased 6-fold (p < 0.0001); and BDE-47, -99, and -100 declined more than BDE-153. There was a modest, nonsignificant (p = 0.13) decline in LSGM concentrations of ∑PCBs and minimal differences in ∑OH-PCBs between 2008–2009 and 2011–2012. PBDE exposures are likely declining due to regulatory action, but the relative stability in PCB exposures suggests PBDE exposures may eventually plateau and persist for decades. Study Read article by Environmental Health News Service

Cognitive Deficits and Behavior Problems in Children with Prenatal PBDE Exposure

May 6, 2013 Prenatal exposure to BDE-47 and sum4BDEs was associated with cognitive deficits at 2, 3, and 5 years; the deficits were larger in older children. The geometric mean of sum4BDEs was 37 ng/g lipid, with BDE-47 at 20 ng/g lipid, comparable to US national average in the 2003-2004. For a 10-fold increase in BDE-47 there was a -4.6 decrement in Bayley Mental Development Index (95% CI=-8.4, -0.8) at age 3 and a -7.5 decrement in Wechsler Full Scale IQ (95% CI=-11.9, -3.1) at 5 years. Prenatal BDE-47 and sum4BDEs exposure was also associated with an increase in hyperactivity symptoms. A ten-fold increase in BDE-47 was associated with 2.4 increment (95% CI=0.1, 4.6) in hyperactivity score. CONCLUSIONS: Prenatal exposure to PBDEs, a group of flame retardants that are detectable in virtually all US children, was strongly associated with cognitive deficits and hyperactivity behaviors in children. Presented at the American Pediatric Association Presidential Plenary.

Predictors of serum concentrations of polybrominated flame retardants among healthy pregnant women in an urban environment: a cross-sectional study

March 8, 2013 Published in the Environmental Health Journal. BDE exposure is widespread in this cohort, though levels are lower than previous assessments of US pregnant women. Lower levels may be in response to legislation restricting the production, sale and use of these compounds. In our cohort, we did not observe any individual predictor or a consistent pattern of several predictors representing a significant source of PBDE exposure. These data suggest that legislation and policy may be more effective at reducing exposure than personal lifestyle modifications.

Study finds high levels of flame retardants in commercial aircraft dust

Februrary 21, 2013 Dust in commercial aircraft contains a wide range of flame retardant chemicals, with particularly high concentrations of BDE 209, according to a study by a team from the US and UK. The researchers detected a wide range of flame retardant chemicals in all dust samples collected from commercial aircraft, including several brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs), tris(1,3-dichloroisopropyl) phosphate (TDCPP), and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD). In particular, BDE 209, the main constituent of OctaBDE, was found at higher concentrations than in residential and office environments. Environmental Health Journal

Indiana University study finds flame retardant pollutants at far-flung locations

January 8, 2013 Chemicals used as flame retardants are present as environmental pollutants at locations around the globe, including remote sites in Indonesia, Nepal and Tasmania, according to a study by researchers from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, makes use of a novel but highly effective sampling technique: measuring concentrations of the chemicals in the bark of trees, which absorbs compounds in both vapor and particle phases.

Chemicals in the Crib

December 28, 2012 Three popular brands of baby mattresses that were marketed in recent months to families and day care centers contained toxic flame retardants linked to increased cancer risk, according to laboratory tests conducted for the Chicago Tribune.

First-Ever Legal Action Targets Cancer-Causing Flame Retardant Found in Children’s Products

December 6, 2012 Nap mats used in daycares nationwide, baby products from Walmart, Target, KMart and other major retailers found with cancer-causing chemical. Center for Environmental Health.

Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals found in Couches Nationwide

November 28, 2012, A new peer reviewed study published shows a carcinogen has been used to replace banned toxic flame retardants in many couches sampled across the United States. Environmental Science and Technology. Read News advisory.

New study: Many flame retardants in house dust -- unsafe levels

November 28, 2012 A peer-reviewed study of the largest number of flame retardants ever tested in homes in Richmond and Bolinas, CA., has found that most houses had levels of at least one flame retardant that exceeded a federal health guideline. Environmental Science & Technology.


Chemtura Corporation's "Firemaster 550" Linked to Endocrine Disruption

October 24, 2012 The flame-retardant mixture known as “Firemaster 550” is an endocrine disruptor that causes extreme weight gain, early onset of puberty and cardiovascular health effects in lab animals, according to a new study spearheaded by researchers from North Carolina State University and Duke University. “Accumulation and Endocrine Disrupting Effects of the Flame Retardant Mixture Firemaster 550 in Rats: An Exploratory Assessment,” is published online in the Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology.


Flame retardant linked to autism in genetically-susceptible animals

July 12, 2012 Researchers have found that exposure to a flame retardant chemical during development interacts with a known genetic mutation to impair learning and memory and decrease social behaviours in mice, in what is claimed to be the first study demonstrating that environmental contaminants and genetics can work together to create autism-like symptoms. The research is published in Human Molecular Genetics, and Chemical Watch reported the story.


Factors Associated with Serum Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Levels Among School-Age Children in the CHAMACOS Cohort

June 1, 2012 Environmental Science & Technology Factors positively associated with higher PBDE levels in the children were total PBDE levels in maternal serum during pregnancy, duration of exclusive breastfeeding, and having no safe places to play in their neighborhood........ Our findings confirm that exposure to the penta-BDE mixture is ongoing, and that Mexican-American children living in California may be experiencing higher PBDE exposure from their environment compared to children sampled from the general U.S. population.

Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) Stereoisomers in U.S. Food from Dallas, Texas

May 31, 2012, Environmental Health Perspectives, Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) is a brominated flame retardant used in polystyrene foams in thermal insulation and electrical equipment. The HBCD commercial mixture consists mainly of α, β, and γ stereoisomers. Health concerns of HBCD exposure include alterations in immune and reproductive systems, neurotoxic effects, and endocrine disruption. Previously, stereoisomer specific levels of HBCD have not been measured in U.S. food

Serum PPBDEs in a North Carolina Toddler Cohort: Associations with Hand Wipes, House Dust and Socioeconomic Variables

May 23, 2012. Environmental Health Perspectives,

A Duke University-led study of 83 North Carolina toddlers, published today in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, suggests that exposure to potentially toxic flame-retardant chemicals may be higher in nonwhite toddlers than in white toddlers. Read Advisory

A Research Strategy to Discover the Environmental Causes of Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities

April 25, 2012, Environmental Health Perspectives

Excerpt: Exploration of the environmental causes of autism and other NDDs has been catalyzed by growing recognition of the exquisite sensitivity of the developing human brain to toxic chemicals (Grandjean and Landrigan 2006). This susceptibility is greatest during unique “windows of vulnerability” that open only in embryonic and fetal life and have no later counterpart (Miodovnik 2011).

Nanotechnology Spells Danger For Firefighters

April 24, 2012, Firehouse.com


Study highlights the interaction between epigenetics and genetics and exposure to a flame retardant in mice.

February 16, 2012

Mice genetically engineered to be susceptible to autism-like behaviors that were exposed to a common flame retardant were less fertile and their offspring were smaller, less sociable and demonstrated marked deficits in learning and long-term memory when compared with the offspring of normal unexposed mice, a study by researchers at UC Davis has found. The researchers said the study is the first to link genetics and epigenetics with exposure to a flame retardant chemical.

The research was published online in the journal Human Molecular Genetics. It will be presented during a symposium on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) by Janine LaSalle, a professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the UC Davis School of Medicine and the UC Davis Genome Center. (LaSalle will discuss her research during a news briefing with her colleagues at 9 a.m. on Feb. 19 in Room 221 on the second Level of the Vancouver Convention Center). Read More