Buildup of Newer Flame Retardants Concerns
TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing concentrations
of two newer generation flame-retardant chemicals were detected in
atmospheric samples collected in the Great Lakes region between
2008 and 2010, a new study indicates.
The chemicals are used to reduce flammability in various
products, including electronic devices, textiles, plastics,
coatings and polyurethane foams. They are 2-ethylhexyl
tetrabromobenzoate [TBB] and bis(2-ethylhexyl) tetrabromophthalate
TBB and TBPH are included in commercial mixtures introduced in
recent years to replace polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs),
widely used flame retardants taken off the market because they can
leak from products into the environment.
In this study, Indiana University researchers analyzed 507 air
samples collected at six locations on the shores of the Great
"We find that the environmental concentrations of (TBB and TBPH) are increasing rather rapidly," Professor Ronald Hites, of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, said in a university news release. "It's rare to find that concentrations of any compound are doubling within a year or two, which is what we're seeing with TBB and TBPH."
The highest concentrations were detected in urban areas,
including Cleveland and Chicago. But the chemicals were also
present in about half the samples from remote locations in
Michigan, New York and Ontario, Canada.
The findings, published in the journal
Environmental Science & Technology, suggest that these newer-generation flame retardants may be replacing their predecessors in the environment, the researchers said.
Previous research has found TBB and TBPH in household dust and
furniture foam in the United States, marine mammals in Hong Kong
and sewage sludge in California.
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