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Why you should protect your kids from flame retardant exposure

Harold Mandel's picture
How flame retardants could harm your child

We hear a lot of talk about the vital importance of good nutrition for pregnant women and young kids in order to help the child develop well in body and mind. It is not a myth that good nutrition is vital for the well being of a child. It is also important for pregnant women and young kids to be protected from exposure to toxins which could be harmful. Recent research shows that exposure to chemicals in flame retardants may be associated with lower IQ and more hyperactivity in kids.

Researchers decided to explore whether in utero exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) has an association with child cognitive function and behavior reported the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are persistent chemicals which have been widely used as flame retardants in:

1: Furniture

2: Carpet padding

3: Car seats

4: Other consumer products

Prenatal exposure to flame retardants may be hazardous

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In this study the researchers discovered that prenatal exposure to flame retardants may be significantly associated with lower IQs and greater hyperactivity in five-year-old kids reported Simon Fraser University. These researchers observed that a 10-fold increase in polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) concentrations during early pregnancy, when the fetal brain is in the process of developing, was associated with a 4.5 IQ decrease. This is comparable to the impact of environmental lead exposure.

Bruce Lanphear, a Simon Fraser University health sciences professor, and his research team measured the levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in 309 U.S. women at 16 weeks of pregnancy, and followed their kids until the age of five. The researchers said their findings confirmed earlier studies which found polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are routinely found in pregnant women and children and may be developmental neurotoxicants.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) remain in the environment

Although most items which contain polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were voluntarily removed from the market a decade ago, some are still available for consumers and others remain in the environment and in human bodies. Just about all homes and offices still contain some of these chemicals. Lanphear has said the results from this and other observational human studies have supported efforts aimed at lowering exposures to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), particularly for pregnant women and young kids.

Exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) should be decreased

This research has highlighted the need to decrease inadvertent exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the home and office environment via dust and in diet via fish or meat products in order to avert potential developmental neurotoxicity in pregnant women and young kids.

Lanphear feels that more research is needed to highlight the impact which polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) exposure has on the developing brain. He has also suggested that it is vital to investigate associated chemicals and other flame retardants which are used to replace polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).

This study raises deep concerns about continued exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). In view of the fact that the potential for exposure to these chemicals continues, coupled with their association with lower IQ and more hyperactivity in kids, it is imperative to share an awareness of this problem and to work to help pregnant women and kids in particular avoid exposure to these chemicals.