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Int J Androl. 2008 Apr;31(2):152-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2008.00869.x.

Brominated flame retardants as possible endocrine disrupters.

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National Food Administration, Uppsala, Sweden.


Brominated flame retardants (BFR) are endocrine disrupters in experimental systems, both in vitro and in vivo. Although BFR effects on thyroid hormones are well confirmed, studies of effects on oestrogen/androgen systems are fewer but today growing in numbers. The effects of BFR on other hormone systems are still unknown. Hormonal effect levels in animals start from ca 1 mg/kg b.w., but there are exceptions: effects on spermatogenesis, suggesting hormonal causes, have been observed at a low dose (60 microg/kg b.w.) of a polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congener, BDE-99. It could be concluded that hormonal effects are of importance in risk assessment, and in some cases where effects are seen at low levels safety margins may be insufficient. One additional uncertainty is the lack of reliable human data that could be used to support animal BFR observations. In spite of the recent regulation of PBDE production, levels of both PBDE and of other BFR groups are still present in environmental samples. Thus, we have to deal with the possible effects of human BFR exposure for times to come. In order to reduce BFR exposure, the routes of exposure should be carefully examined and ways to reduce levels in major exposure routes considered.

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