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Human exposure to PBDE and critical evaluation of health hazards

Abstract

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are used in large quantities as flame-retardant additives in a number of commercial products. Biomonitoring data show that, in recent years, PBDE concentrations have increased rapidly in the bodies of wildlife and humans. Usually, PBDE levels in North America have been reported to be higher than those in Europe and Asia. Moreover, body burden of PBDEs is three- to ninefold higher in infants and toddlers than in adults, showing these last two age groups the highest levels of these compounds, due to exposure via maternal milk and through dust. Tetra-, Penta-, and Hexa-BDEs are the isomers most commonly found in humans. Based on studies on experimental animals, the toxicological endpoints of exposure to PBDEs are likely to be thyroid homeostasis disruption, neurodevelopmental deficits, reproductive changes, and even cancer. Experimental studies in animals and epidemiological observations in humans suggest that PBDEs may be developmental neurotoxicants. Pre- and/or postnatal exposure to PBDEs may cause long-lasting behavioral abnormalities, particularly on motor activity and cognition. This paper is focused on reviewing the current status of PBDEs in the environment, as well as the critical adverse health effects based on the recent studies on the toxic effects of PBDEs.

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Linares, V., Bellés, M. & Domingo, J.L. Human exposure to PBDE and critical evaluation of health hazards. Arch Toxicol 89, 335–356 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00204-015-1457-1

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Keywords

  • PBDEs
  • Human exposure
  • Infants
  • Developmental neurotoxicity
  • Behavioral effects