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:

Jenna Meyer, Tiffany Kimball, Margaret Hardin, Anonymous, Rani Corey-Sheaffer, Anonymous, Meredith Buhalis, Darcy White, Laurie Yung, Leila Feldman, Fred Gellert, Participant #18

Found in these locations:

San Francisco, CA; La Habra Heights, CA; Evergreen, CO; Dorchester, MA; Jamiaca Plain, MA; Ann Arbor, MI; Raytown, MO; Missoula, MT; Austin, TX; Belvedere, CA; VA, USA

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These chemicals were withdrawn from the US market in 2005 due to their toxicity to laboratory animals, and their detection as contaminants in humans, wildlife, house and office buildings and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-126

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 They were withdrawn from the market in the U.S. in 2005.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-126 has been found in 13 of the 98 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies.


Top health concerns for PBDE-126 (References)

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


Results for PBDE-126

PBDE-126 was measured in different units for some of the studies. Overall it was found in 13 of 98 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. The bars below are grouped by units:

in blood serum (lipid weight)

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

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 0.00203 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum
  • found in 3 of 78 people in the group
0 ng/g (lipid weight) in blood serum 0.137


PBDE-126 results

in breast milk (lipid weight)

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

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 0.0067 ppb (lipid weight) in breast milk
  • found in 10 of 20 people in the group
0 ppb (lipid weight) in breast milk 0.22


PBDE-126 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.