Flame retardant exposure increases risk of attention problems in children

Flame retardant exposure increases risk of attention problems in children

PDBEs are flame retardants found in household items such as textiles, plastic, wires, and furniture containing polyurethane foam. Because PDBEs are not bound to the products that they are found on, they are eventually released into the air.

We are often exposed to these substances through consumption of food containing build up of PDBEs. Although PDBEs were phased out in 2004, they still exist in the environment.

New research from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health shows that flame retardant exposure increases risk of attention problems in children.

As written in the study press release:

Researchers followed 210 mother-child pairs, a subset of the Center’s World Trade Center study, from birth through early childhood. This cohort was established following the September 11, 2001 attack and designed to examine the effects of exposure to dust, smoke, and fumes on child development. Beginning at age 3, researchers assessed child behavior using a standardized rating scale, repeating the test ever year through age 7. Cord blood samples were analyzed for PBDEs to assess prenatal exposure to the chemicals.”

At ages 3,4, and 7, children with the highest PDBE exposure had the most attention problems.

These findings reinforce the decision to phase-out the use of PBDEs in consumer products and support the need to develop programs for safely disposing of products containing PBDEs that are still in use,” says senior author Julie Herbstman, assistant professor of Environmental Health Sciences.

The study showing that flame retardant exposure increases risk of attention problems in children was published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology.

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1. “Exposure to Common Flame Retardants May Contribute to Attention Problems in Children.” Mailman School of Public Health. Columbia University, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
2. “Prenatal Exposure to Polybrominateds Diphenyl Ethers and Child Attention Problems at 3-7years.” ResearchGate. ResearchGate, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
3. “Public Health Statement for Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs).” Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.

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