Flame retardants: Dust - and not food - might be the risk

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Flame retardants (FRs) are used to delay ignition of materials such as furniture and electric and electronic instruments. Many FRs are persistent and end up in the environment. Environmental studies on flame retardants (FRs) took off in the late 1990s. Polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) appeared to be bioaccumulative and were found in many organisms all over the world. When PBDEs were banned or their production voluntarily terminated, alternatives appeared on the market that often had similar properties or were of more concern due to their toxicity such as halogenated phosphorus-based FRs. Here we show that in spite of the ban on PBDEs more brominated FRs are being produced, an increasing number of other FRs is being applied and FR levels in our homes are much higher than in the outdoor environment. While nowadays we live in better isolated houses and sit in front of the computer or television, on flame retarded upholstery, we are at risk due to the toxic effects of a suite of FRs. The high exposure to these substances indoors calls for better risk assessments that include mixture effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-464
JournalChemosphere
Volume150
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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