chemical information
CAS RN:

36483-60-0

Chemical Class:

Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)

Chemical SubClass

Hexabrominated diphenyl ether

Manufacturing/Use Status

use/production has been voluntarily discontinued in the U.S.

Found in these people:

Anonymous Adult 2, Anonymous Adult 5, Anonymous Adult 4, Anonymous Teen 1, Anonymous Adult 12, Anonymous Adult 13, Anonymous Adult 11, Anonymous Adult 10, Anonymous Adult 14, Anonymous Adult 15, Anonymous Adult 16, Anonymous Adult 17, Anonymous Adult 18, Anonymous Adult 20, Anonymous Adult 21, Baby #2, Baby #3, Baby #4, Baby #9, Anonymous Adult 1, U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter, Jenna Meyer, Katrina Alcorn, Tiffany Kimball, Teri Olle, Margaret Hardin, Susan Comfort, Angela Strother, Jill, Anonymous, Rani Corey-Sheaffer, Anonymous, Meredith Buhalis, Darcy White, Jennifer Scheinz, Laurie Yung, Lisa, Leila Feldman, Susanne Green, Participant #10, Fred Gellert, Adelaide Gomer, Participant #18, Participant #20, Martha Davis, Emily Sayrs, Participant #6, Sara Corbett, Anonymous Mom #13, Anonymous Child #13, Naomi Carrigg, Lauren, Brynn Dickman, Elijah Scheinz, Ruby Alcorn, Zade Little, Dr. Beverly Wright, Adult #108, Adult B, Vivian Chang, Jennifer Hill-Kelley, Suzie Canales, Jean Salone, Cord Blood Sample 13, Cord Blood Sample 14, Cord Blood Sample 16

Found in these locations:

Chicago, IL; Fredericksburg, VA; Washington, DC; Atlanta, GA; Mountain View, CA; Stanford, CA; Palo Alto, CA; San Francisco, CA; Berkeley, CA; Alamo, CA; Fallbrook, CA; New York, NY; Upstate New York, NY; Oakland, CA; La Habra Heights, CA; Evergreen, CO; Gainesville, FL; Canton, GA; Dorchester, MA; Jamiaca Plain, MA; Ann Arbor, MI; Raytown, MO; Helena, MT; Missoula, MT; Portland, OR; Austin, TX; Burke, VA; CA, USA; Belvedere, CA; Ithaca, NY; VA, USA; Littleton, CO; MD, USA; NY, USA; Boston, MA; Minneapolis, MN; Colorado Springs, CO; New Orleans, LA; Green Bay, WI; Corpus Christi, TX

Exposure routes:

Fire retardant in foam furniture, carpet padding, computers, televisions. Pollutant in house dust, food.


Summary

PBDEs are brominated fire retardants, intentionally added to flexible foam furniture--primarily mattresses, couches, padded chairs, pillows, carpet padding and vehicle upholstry.

These chemicals were withdrawn from the US market in 2005 due to their toxicity to laboratory animals, and their detection as contaminants in humans, wildlife, house and office buildings and common foods. (Sjodin 2003) People are primarily exposed to PBDEs in their homes, offices and vehicles. Secondary sources are foods, primarily meat, dairy, fish and eggs. (Schecter, Papke et al. 2005)

Studies of laboratory animals link PBDE exposure to an array of adverse health effects including thyroid hormone disruption, permanent learning and memory impairment, behavioral changes, hearing deficits, delayed puberty onset, decreased sperm count, and fetal malformations. (Darnerud 2003; Hale R.C. 2003) Research in animals shows that exposure to brominated fire retardants in-utero or during infancy leads to more significant harm than exposure during adulthood, and at much lower levels.(Viberg H 2006)

PBDEs are bioaccumulative and lipophilic ('fat-loving') therefore highly persistent in people and the environment. The chemicals build up in the body, are stored in fatty tissues and body fluids, such as blood and breast milk, and can be passed on to fetuses and infants during pregnancy and lactation. Despite their phase-out from commerce, human exposure will continue for decades to come.




PBDE-138

Brominated fire retardants used in foam and plastics. Break down into more toxic and persistent forms in the environment. Withdrawn from the market in the U.S. in 2005.

PBDE-138 has been found in 71 of the 138 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies.


Top health concerns for PBDE-138 (References)

health concern or target organ weight of evidence
Reproduction and fertilityunknown
Brain and nervous systemunknown


Results for PBDE-138

This chemical was found to co-elute with PBDE-166.


PBDE-138 was measured in different units for some of the studies. Overall it was found in 71 of 138 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. The bars below are grouped by units:

in blood serum (lipid weight)

Showing results from EWG Study #9, flame retardants in mothers and children, Pollution in Minority Newborns, EWG Study #6, consumer product chemicals in mothers and daughters, EWG/Commonweal Study #7, consumer product chemicals in adults and teens, EWG/Commonweal Study #4, industrial chemicals and pesticides in cord blood, Dateline NBC Families, EWG Study #3, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults, Pets Project, Adult Minority Leader Report, Other Body Burden Studies, EWG Study #8, chemicals in mother and 2 children, Dateline NBC Families

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 0.0288 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • found in 53 of 118 people in the group
0 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum 3.34


PBDE-138 results

in breast milk (lipid weight)

Showing results from EWG Study #2, flame retardants in breast milk

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 0.0685 ppb (lipid weight) in breast milk
  • found in 18 of 20 people in the group
0 ppb (lipid weight) in breast milk 1.76


PBDE-138 results


Detailed toxicity classifications (References)

classification governing entity/references
Reproductive effects - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedMcDonald, T. A. (2002). A perspective on the potential health risks of PBDEs. Chemosphere 46: 11.
Nervous system toxicity - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedViberg, H., Fredriksson, A., Jakobsson, E., Orn, U., Eriksson, P. (2003). Neurobehavioral derangements in adult mice receiving decabrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE 209) during a defined period of neonatal brain development. Toxicol Sci 76(1): 112-20.