Flame Retardants

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDE, are organobromine compounds used as flame retardants. PBDEs are used in a variety of products, including clothing, furnishings, and plastics. Scientists have found sufficient evidence supporting an association between developmental flame retardant exposure and reduced IQ. Other studies have linked them to reproductive and neurological risks, as human exposure usually occurs through ingestion by food and inhalation. PBDEs accumulate in blood, breast milk, and fat tissues. For children, PBDEs are a great risk. One study conducted by the Environmental Working Group found the median blood levels of PBDEs in children were 3.2 times higher than their mothers.

Associations between prenatal and childhood PBDE exposure and early adolescent visual, verbal and working memory

“Exposure to PBDEs during both prenatal and postnatal periods may disrupt memory domains in early adolescence. These findings contribute to a substantial body of evidence supporting the developmental neurotoxicity of PBDEs and underscore the need to reduce exposure among pregnant women and children.”

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