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Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Dec;113(12):1689-92.

Body burdens of polybrominated diphenyl ethers among urban anglers.

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Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been widely used in the United States and worldwide as flame retardants. Recent PBDE production figures show that worldwide use has increased. To determine whether fish consumption is a source of PBDE exposure for humans, a cross-sectional epidemiologic study of New York and New Jersey urban anglers was conducted during the summers of 2001-2003. Frequency of local fish consumption was assessed by questionnaire, and blood samples for PBDE analysis were collected from 94 anglers fishing from piers on the lower Hudson River and Newark Bay. We analyzed PBDEs by gas chromatography-isotope dilution-high-resolution mass spectrometry. The congeners found in anglers' serum at the highest concentrations were, by International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry numbers, BDE-47, BDE-153, and BDE-99. Anglers reporting consumption of local fish had higher, but nonstatistically significantly different, concentrations of PBDEs than did anglers who did not eat local fish. For some congeners (BDE-100 and BDE-153), we observed moderate dose-response relationships between serum PBDE levels and frequency of reported fish intake. These findings suggest that consumption of locally caught fish is not a major route of human exposure for this study population.

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