Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) are contaminants that are structurally similar to the PCB’s.
Used as a flame retardant, PBDEs are found in building materials, electronics, furnishings (especially mattresses), motor vehicles, airplanes, plastics, polyurethane foams, and textiles.
PBDEs bioaccumulate in animal fats – especially fish and meats. A recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that PBDE intake from food was estimated at 307 ng/kg-day for nursing infants, and varied from 2 ng/kg-day at age 2-5 for both males and females to 0.9 ng/kgday in adult women. The bulk of exposure to these toxins is not believed to come from diet.
PBDEs impair development of the nervous system and are potent endocrine disruptors – particularly on estrogen and thyroid hormones.