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Session: PDBE Flame Retardants: Case Study in Public Health Protection
4265.0: Tuesday, November 9, 2004: 4:30 PM-6:00 PM
PDBE Flame Retardants: Case Study in Public Health Protection
Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants are emerging as a significant health threat. Due to their use in a wide variety of products, including electronics, foam, textiles and transportation, they are now widely distributed in the environment. The three most common commercial products are penta-BDE, octa-BDE and deca-BDE. Deca comprises 80% of worldwide use. Although human data on health effects are limited, animal studies have found PBDEs to be neurodevelopmental toxins, disruptors of thyroid function and liver toxins. Health effects seen in animal studies are occurring at doses slightly higher than chemical levels found in some of the most highly exposed people in the U.S. Recent data that indicate levels of PBDEs in U.S. women’s breast milk are 10-100 higher than for European women are cause for alarm. European nations have implemented public polices to phase out the use of some types of PBDEs, but the U.S. has taken only limited action to regulate them. In the absence of federal policies to restrict these chemicals, states are beginning to take action to regulate these problem chemicals and some industries are phasing out their use in products. California enacted a ban on two products, penta-BDE and octa-BDE in 2003. Great Lakes Chemical Company, the sole US manufacturer, has announced that they will phase out the manufacture of penta and octa-BDEs by the end of 2004 but the fate of deca-BDE is still unclear.
Learning Objectives: Identify common types of PBDE fire retardants and their uses in products. Discuss how women, fetuses and children are routinely exposed to PBDE flame retardants. Describe the chemical properties and toxicity of PBDE flame retardants. Describe steps taken in the U.S. and E.U. to address the problem of PBDE contamination and how it may be affecting public health.
Organizer(s):Susan Lyon Stone, MS
Joy E. Carlson, MPH
Robeena M. Aziz
John Balbus, MD
Moderator(s):Polly Hoppin, ScD
4:30 PMPBDE flame retardants: Toxicology, health effects and risk assessment
Linda S. Birnbaum, PhD
4:48 PMPBDE flame retardants: Routes of exposure, body burdens and levels/prevalence in breast milk in U.S  [ Recorded presentation ]
Arnold Schecter, MD, MPH
5:06 PMPBDE flame retardants: Efforts to regulate at the state level
Kathleen E. Schuler, MPH
5:24 PMPBDE flame retardants: Profile of one industry’s initiative to phase-out some classes of PBDEs  [ Recorded presentation ]
Robert Campbell
5:42 PMPBDE flame retardants: European regulatory and U.S. industry actions to phase-out or limit use
Sonya Lunder, MPH
See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.
Organized by:Environment
CE Credits:CME, Health Education (CHES), Nursing

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA