PBDEs

What are PBDEs

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are used as flame retardants in many consumer products found in our homes such as insulation, building materials, furniture and bedding, electronics, and textiles such as children's clothing. PBDEs are also used in high concentrations in automobiles and airplanes. Structurally similar to PCBs, PBDEs bioaccumulate in the environment and in our bodies.

Exposure sources of PBDEs include inhalation and ingestion. Over time, PBDEs off-gas from household items, and PBDEs contaminate the environment during the manufacturing process. The highest exposure is among people who work in PBDE manufacturing, recycling, or repair plants. Our diet is also an exposure source and PBDEs have been found in fish, fatty meats, and dairy products.

Though there has not been much research on the effects of PBDEs in humans, testing has shown that children have higher levels of PBDEs than their parents. PBDEs may be linked to:

  • Low immune system activity
  • Increase in risk of certain cancers
  • Increase in cognitive defects
  • Thyroid disruption
  • Fertility and reproductive issues

Items Containing PBDEs

Hairdryers

PBDEs used as a flame retardant in electronics, such as hairdryers.

Cars

PBDEs used as a flame retardant in car upholstery and carpeting.

Airplanes

PBDEs used as a flame retardant in airplane interiors, upholstery, and carpeting.

Baby clothes/pajamas

PBDEs used as a flame retardant in children's clothing and pajamas.

Bedding

PBDEs used as a flame retardant in furniture such as mattresses and also in bedding materials.

Pet bedding

PBDEs used as a flame retardant in pet bedding.

Carpeting

PBDEs used as a flame retardant in carpeting.

Electronics

PBDEs used as a flame retardant in electronics, such as computers, televisions, stereos, etc.

Telephones

PBDEs used as a flame retardant in electronics, such as telephones.

Furniture cushions

PBDEs used as a flame retardant in upholstery and furniture.

Blender

PBDEs used as a flame retardant in appliances, such as blenders.

Coffeemaker

PBDEs used as a flame retardant in appliances, such as coffeemakers.

Microwave

PBDEs used as a flame retardant in appliances, such as microwaves.