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Chemicals used as fire retardants could be harmful, UC-Riverside researchers say
Date:12/10/2007

lstery furnishings.

Because they are used as flame retardants, the volume of PBDEs in household goods is higher in states, such as California, that have enacted stringent flammability regulations for these products.

PBDEs mobilize into the indoor air and household dust from household goods, resulting in humans and pets getting exposed continuously to these toxicants. Over time, PBDEs, PCBs and similar organic toxicants leach into the environment when household wastes decompose in landfills or are incompletely incinerated. They are now found in air, water and soil as well as in wildlife and supermarket foods. When people ingest food contaminated with PBDEs, it adds to their body burden over their lifetime.

Some forms of PBDEs are subject to a ban that will become effective in California in January 2008. The form that is most commonly used in plastics such as computer casings is not subject to the ban, however, but may deteriorate to the more detrimental forms (including those that are banned) over time.

It is clear that the environmental levels of PBDEs are increasing, said Cary Coburn, a student in the Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program and a member of Curras-Collazos laboratory, who also was interviewed for the KNBC story. The extent of their toxicity is currently being investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well as internationally by other toxicologists.

In a paper to be published in a forthcoming issue of Neurochemical Research (the paper is available online), Curras-Collazo and Coburn, in collaboration with Prasada Rao S. Kodavanti, a senior research toxicologist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, show that the regulation of calcium in neurons can be compromised by PBDEs and PCBs.

This summer, the three researchers

Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert

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