chemical information
CAS RN:

32534-81-9

Chemical Class:

Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)

Chemical SubClass

Pentabrominated diphenyl ether

Manufacturing/Use Status

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

Found in these people:

Anonymous Adult 2, Anonymous Adult 3, Anonymous Adult 5, Anonymous Adult 4, Anonymous Adult 6, Anonymous Adult 7, 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, Baby #3, Baby #4, Baby #5, Baby #6, Baby #7, Baby #9, Anonymous Adult 1, Kathy Fowler, 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, Participant #10, Fred Gellert, Adelaide Gomer, Ann Hunter-Welborn, Participant #18, Participant #20, Martha Davis, Emily Sayrs, Participant #6, Sara Corbett, Anonymous Child #17, Teo, Olivia Brune, Naomi Carrigg, Anonymous Child #11, Mckenzie Green, Lauren, Brynn Dickman, Elijah Scheinz, Tavin , Greta Hardin, Ruby Alcorn, Anonymous Child #42, Zade Little, Maija West, Eva West, Evan, Dr. Beverly Wright, Adult #108, Adult B, Vivian Chang, Jennifer Hill-Kelley, Jean Salone, Cord Blood Sample 13, Cord Blood Sample 17

Found in these locations:

Chicago, IL; Newton, MA; Fredericksburg, VA; Washington, DC; New York, NY; Lamont, FL; Atlanta, GA; Mountain View, CA; Stanford, CA; Palo Alto, CA; San Francisco, CA; Berkeley, CA; Alamo, CA; Fallbrook, CA; Rockville, MD; 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; Nashville, TN; Austin, TX; Burke, VA; Seattle, WA; CA, USA; Belvedere, CA; Ithaca, NY; Encinitas, CA; VA, USA; Littleton, CO; MD, USA; NY, USA; Riverside, CA; Alameda, CA; Boston, MA; Anchorage, AK; Minneapolis, MN; Colorado Springs, CO; Lake Forest Park, WA; Taos, NM; Clinton, CT; 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-85

Brominated fire retardants used in polyurethan foam and plastics. These PBDEs are neurotoxic and persist in people and the environment. They were withdrawn from the market in the U.S. in 2005.

PBDE-85 has been found in 89 of the 138 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. It has also been found in 512 of the 2,337 people tested in CDC biomonitoring studies.


Top health concerns for PBDE-85 (References)

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


Results for PBDE-85

PBDE-85 was measured in different units for some of the studies. Overall it was found in 89 of 138 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. The bars below are grouped by units:

in blood serum (lipid weight)

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

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 0.0184 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • found in 69 of 118 people in the group

CDC biomonitoring results

  • geometric mean: 0.839 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • found in 512 of 2337 people in the group
0 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum 66.9


PBDE-85 results

in breast milk (lipid weight)

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

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 0.517 ppb (lipid weight) in breast milk
  • found in 20 of 20 people in the group
0.05 ppb (lipid weight) in breast milk 17.1


PBDE-85 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.