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:

Suzie Canales, Jean Salone, Jennifer Hill-Kelley, Dr. Beverly Wright, Vivian Chang, Adult B, Adult #108, Baby #3, Baby #6, Baby #8, Baby #9, Baby #10, 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, Anonymous, Leila Feldman, Susanne Green, Erika Schreder, Cord Blood Sample 13, Cord Blood Sample 14, Cord Blood Sample 16, Participant #1, Participant #10, Fred Gellert, Adelaide Gomer, Ann Hunter-Welborn, Jesse Johnson, Participant #18, Lynde Uihlein, Participant #20, Jessica Welborn, Alicia Wittink, Martha Davis, Emily Sayrs, Participant #6, Annette Gellert, Heather Gellert, Landon Gellert, Anonymous Adult, Anonymous Adult 3, Anonymous Adult 5, Anonymous Adult 4, Anonymous Teen 1, Anonymous Adult 9, 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

Found in these locations:

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

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These chemicals were withdrawn from the US market in 2005 due to their toxicity to laboratory animals, and their detection as contaminants in humans, wildlife, house and office buildings and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-140

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-140 has been found in 76 of the 98 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies.


Top health concerns for PBDE-140 (References)

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


Results for PBDE-140

PBDE-140 was measured in different units for some of the studies. Overall it was found in 76 of 98 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. The bars below are grouped by units:

in blood serum (lipid weight)

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

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 0.0179 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • found in 56 of 78 people in the group
0 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum 0.934


PBDE-140 results

in breast milk (lipid weight)

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

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 0.0745 ppb (lipid weight) in breast milk
  • found in 20 of 20 people in the group
0.01 ppb (lipid weight) in breast milk 1.93


PBDE-140 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.