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Your Environment. Your Health.

PBDE Levels Decrease in Pregnant Women after Ban

Ami R. Zota, Ph.D.; R. Thomas Zoeller, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco; University of Massachusetts, Amherst
NIEHS Grants K99ES019881, ViCTER supplement to R01ES010026

A new study, supported in part by NIEHS, found that levels of the polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants in pregnant women have dropped since being banned in California and phased out of U.S. production in 2003-2004. The PBDE levels fell more quickly than expected, given the environmental persistency of those compounds.

The researchers previously studied pregnant women seen at San Francisco General Hospital in 2008-2009, finding that these women had PBDEs concentrations that were among the highest in pregnant women worldwide. For the new study, the researchers recruited 36 demographically similar women from the same clinic in 2011 to 2012. They found that PBDE serum levels in the pregnant women had dropped by two-thirds since the 2008-2009 measurements. Specifically, adjusted least-squares geometric mean concentrations of PBDEs decreased 65 percent (95 percent CI: 18, 130) from 90.0 ng/g lipid (95 percent CI: 64.7, 125.2) to 54.6 ng/g lipid (95 percent CI: 39.2, 76.2) (p = 0.004). OH-PBDEs decreased 6-fold (p < 0.0001), and BDE-47, -99, and -100 declined more than BDE-153.

The researchers said that PBDE exposures likely declined because of regulatory action and that their findings can be used to evaluate public policies and inform future public health interventions.

Citation: Zota AR, Linderholm L, Park JS, Petreas M, Guo T, Privalsky ML, Zoeller RT, Woodruff TJ. 2013. Temporal Comparison of PBDEs, OH-PBDEs, PCBs, and OH-PCBs in the Serum of Second Trimester Pregnant Women Recruited from San Francisco General Hospital, California. Environ Sci Technol 47(20):11776-11784.

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