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Shokuhin Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2004 Aug;45(4):175-83.

[Polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants in foodstuffs and human milk].

[Article in Japanese]

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  • 1Osaka Prefectural Institute of Public Health: 1-3-69, Nakamichi, Higashinari-ku, Osaka 537-0025, Japan.


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been used worldwide as additive flame retardants in polymeric materials. Commercial products consist predominantly of deca-, octa-, and pentabromodiphenyl ether mixtures. PBDEs are resistant to degradation in the natural environment and Penta-BDE in particular accumulates in the fatty tissues of fish, birds and mammals (including humans). Several toxic effects on the thyroid system or on neurodevelopment have been reported in experimental animals exposed to PBDEs. It is likely that human exposure is predominantly through the ingestion of contaminated food and/or mother's milk. The potential health effects of dietary exposure to PBDEs have now become a great concern because of the increasing PBDE levels in the biosphere. In this review, published information on the toxicology of PBDEs, levels in foodstuffs and human milk, and analytical methods has been compiled.

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