Tag Archives | PBDEs

Flame-Retardant Chemicals May Be Linked to Lower IQs in Children

Picture: PD

Picture: PD

Chemicals once used to make furniture more resistant to flame has been implicated in childhood neurological deficits, including lower IQs and hyperactivity:

Via Scientific American:

The researchers tracked children through the first five years of their lives, looking at a battery of tests for IQ and behavior. They found that children of mothers who had high PBDE levels during their second trimester showed cognition deficits when the children were five years old as well as higher rates of hyperactivity at ages two to five. If the mother’s blood had a 10-fold increase in PBDEs, the average five-year-old had about a four-point IQ deficit. “A four-point IQ difference in an individual child may not be perceivable in…ordinary life. However, in a population, if many children are affected, the social and economic impact can be huge due to the shift of IQ distribution and productivity,” says lead author Aimin Chen, an assistant professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

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Household Chemicals Lead To Decreased Fertility

Chemical structure of PBDEs

Chemical structure of PBDEs

In a study published today, a decreased likelihood of pregnancy is linked to flame-retardant chemicals in foam furniture, electronics, fabrics and more. Californians may have higher exposures compared with residents of other states. Shari Roan reports for the Los Angeles Times:

Flame-retardant chemicals found in many household consumer products may reduce fertility in women, researchers reported today. Their study joins several other papers published in the last two years suggesting that the chemicals, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, affect human health.

PBDEs have been used as flame retardants for four decades and are found in foam furniture, electronics, fabrics, carpets and plastics. The chemicals are being phased out nationwide, and certain PBDEs have been banned for use in California. But they are still found in products made before 2004. Californians may have higher exposures compared with residents of other states because of the state’s strict flammability laws, according to the study authors, from UC Berkeley.

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