polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDE
diphenyl ethers, used as flame retardants, are bioaccumulating in human bodies throughout
diphenyl ethers are being spread by an array of
store-bought foods as well as
dust inside homes and offices.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or
PBDEs, are added to computers, televisions, furniture cushions, upholstery
textiles, carpet backings, mattresses, cars, buses, aircraft and building
construction materials by chemical corporations to harden plastic and make
polyurethane foam less flammable.
High concentrations of polybrominated
diphenyl ethers have been detected in a variety of fish, meat and fowl in America.
In America human bodies carry 20 times more on average than in
Americans are breathing much higher levels found in their
household dust compared with European homes.
PBDEs escape as a gas from
hard plastic and polyurethane foam - especially newer computers, furniture and
other products - and then adhere to dust.
"There is a continuous
exposure, and there is absolutely no way to control it. You have almost a
24-hour exposure, except for the time you are outside." - Aake Bergman, head of
environmental chemistry at Stockholm University in Sweden and a leading
authority on flame retardants.
The flame retardants have been detected
in virtually every individual and animal tested, even newborns and fetuses,
around the world, including Australia and the Arctic.
Amounts in people
and wildlife are doubling in North America every four to six years, a pace
unmatched for any contaminant in at least 50 years.
"We have two
sources: food is one and indoor air is another. We now know that the sources
are inside our houses, inside our buildings," said Mehran Alaee of Canada's
National Water Research Institute.
"PBDEs are found in almost
all foods of animal origin; and some have very high levels of these chemicals,"
said a report by University of Texas environmental scientist Arnold Schecter.
rates began to skyrocket in indoor cats.
Indoor cats lounge on
polybrominated diphenyl ether,
flame retardant, treated furniture, grooming themselves by
Farm-raised fish contained 5 to 6 times more than wild fish.
Other foods that contained high levels of PBDEs included
pork sausage, duck and hot
Beef had the lowest levels, followed by goose, pheasant,
scallops, canned tuna and wild coho salmon.
Chicken contained moderate
PBDEs bind to fat so trimming excess fat, eating lean meats
and avoiding large, predatory fish is advised - especially for pregnant and
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
bioaccumulate in body fat building up over a
"I am convinced we are
building a huge, ticking time bomb in our
environment today." -
2007 Californians for Fire
Safety launches a campaign to derail a legislative bill to ban toxic flame
Californians for Fire Safety is funded by Albemarle
Corporation, Chemtura Corporation, and IC Limited - Industrial Products
mnaufactures of PBDE.
"My uncle was a fire fighter and he believed
in the use of flame retardants.
He treated his children's pajama fabric
with flame retardants.
My uncle died at 45.
His wife and his
two children have had thyroid problems all their
My cousin, Ralph, was lethargic since childhood.
fairly intelligent but he never had any get up and go.
He only worked
short lived jobs during his
He once told an employer that it was to hard to get out of
bed to go to work.
Ralph died at age 53." - Athbhreith
2010 Each tenfold
increase in blood concentration of PBDEs was linked to a 30% decrease in the
likelihood of becoming pregnant each month.
"One of the strongest
associations of PBDEs is with thyroid hormone.
Thyroid hormone does seem to play an
important role in fertility.
Either too low or too high levels can
also seem to mimic estrogen.
We know these
endocrine disrupting chemicals
can affect the next
generation's fertility." - Kim Harley
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