chemical information
CAS RN:

32536-52-0

Chemical Class:

Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)

Chemical SubClass

Octabrominated 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 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 #1, Baby #2, Baby #3, Baby #4, Baby #5, Baby #6, Baby #7, Baby #8, Baby #9, Baby #10, Anonymous Adult 1, Kathy Fowler, U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter, Participant #10, Fred Gellert, Jesse Johnson, Participant #18, Annette Gellert, Landon Gellert, Sara Corbett, Adult #108, Adult B, Vivian Chang, Jennifer Hill-Kelley, Suzie Canales, Jean Salone, Cord Blood Sample 11, Cord Blood Sample 13, Cord Blood Sample 14, Cord Blood Sample 16, Cord Blood Sample 18, Cord Blood Sample 19

Found in these locations:

Chicago, IL; Newton, MA; Fredericksburg, VA; Washington, DC; New York, NY; Lamont, FL; Atlanta, GA; Stanford, CA; Palo Alto, CA; San Francisco, CA; Berkeley, CA; Alamo, CA; Fallbrook, CA; Rockville, MD; Upstate New York, NY; CA, USA; Belvedere, CA; VA, USA; NY, USA; Oakland, CA; 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These chemicals were withdrawn from the US market in 2005 due to their toxicity to laboratory animals, and their detection as contaminants in humans, wildlife, house and office buildings and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-203

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 Withdrawn from the market in the U.S. in 2005.

PBDE-203 has been found in 56 of the 118 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies.


Top health concerns for PBDE-203 (References)

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


Results for PBDE-203

in blood serum (lipid weight)

Showing results from EWG Study #9, flame retardants in mothers and children, Pollution in Minority Newborns, Adult Minority Leader Report, 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, EWG Study #3, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults, EWG Study #8, chemicals in mother and 2 children, Dateline NBC Families, Dateline NBC Families, Pets Project, Other Body Burden Studies

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 0 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • found in 56 of 118 people in the group
0 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum 16.5


PBDE-203 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.