chemical Class

Nonabrominated diphenyl ether

Chemicals in the class:

PBDE-206, PBDE-207, PBDE-208

Found in these people:

Angela Strother, Jenna Meyer, Katrina Alcorn, Margaret Hardin, Anonymous, Susanne Green, Darcy White, Jennifer Scheinz, Participant #18, Baby #1, Kathy Fowler, U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter, Baby #5, Baby #4, Anonymous Teen 1, Adult B, Adult #108, Vivian Chang, Dr. Beverly Wright, Jennifer Hill-Kelley, Jean Salone, Suzie Canales, Cord Blood Sample 19, Cord Blood Sample 18, Cord Blood Sample 16, Cord Blood Sample 15, Cord Blood Sample 13, Cord Blood Sample 11, Teri Olle, Susan Comfort, Lisa, Erika Schreder, Meredith Buhalis, Laurie Yung, Leila Feldman, Anonymous, Jill, Baby #8, Baby #3, Baby #7, Baby #9, Anonymous Adult 1, Anonymous Adult 15, Anonymous Adult 11, Anonymous Adult 9, Cord Blood Sample 17, Cord Blood Sample 12

Found in these locations:

Gainesville, FL; San Francisco, CA; Oakland, CA; Evergreen, CO; Nashville, TN; Burke, VA; Raytown, MO; Helena, MT; VA, USA; Rockville, MD; Upstate New York, NY; Atlanta, GA; New Orleans, LA; Green Bay, WI; Corpus Christi, TX; Washington, DC; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Ann Arbor, MI; Missoula, MT; Austin, TX; Canton, GA; Berkeley, CA; Palo Alto, CA


Nona/Deca-brominated PBDEs are currently used as fire retardants in plastics for computer monitors, television sets and other electronic products.

Deca appears to have neurotoxic effects to laboratory animals exposed during early development. (Viberg H. 2006) A study exposing mice to a single low dose (2.2 mg/kg) of Deca during a during neonatal brain development caused irreversible changes in adult brain function which worsened with age. (Viberg 2003)

The other pressing health concern is the extent to which is it a source of less-brominated, and more toxic forms of PBDEs in humans and the environment. Dozens of laboratory studies show that Deca photodegrades under a range of conditions, and it even is broken down in the bodies of fish fed pure Deca in their diets. (Soderstrom G. 2004; Stapleton H.M. 2006)

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)

Nona PBDEs have been detected in several studies of adult blood serum, fat tissues and breast milk. They appear to exist in higher concentrations in blood lipid than in breast milk. Very little data exists on concentrations in pregnant women and young children.

Nonabrominated diphenyl ether

Brominated fire retardants currently used in plastics and fabric. The major use is in electronic devices; the minor use is as a backcoating on industrial fabrics. Are directly toxic to mammals and breakdown to more dangerous forms in the environment.

Nonabrominated diphenyl ether has been found in 53 of the 138 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies.

Top health concerns for Nonabrominated diphenyl ether (References)

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

Toxicity Classifications (References)

classification governing entity/references
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.
Reproductive effects - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedMcDonald, T. A. (2002). A perspective on the potential health risks of PBDEs. Chemosphere 46: 11.