Pollution is damaging people, example Polybrominated crap

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs): New Pollutants-Old Diseases
Muhammad Akmal Siddiqi, PhD, Ronald H. Laessig, PhD, and Kurt D. Reed, MD
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Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of recalcitrant and bioaccumulative halogenated compounds that
have emerged as a major environmental pollutant. PBDEs are used as a flame-retardant and are found in consumer
goods such as electrical equipment, construction materials, coatings, textiles and polyurethane foam (furniture
padding). Similar in structure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), PBDEs resist degradation in the environment. Less
brominated PBDEs like tetra-, penta- and hexa- demonstrate high affinity for lipids and can accumulate in the bodies
of animals and humans. Breast milk from North American women contained much higher amounts of PBDEs than
levels in breast milk from Swedish women, indicating that North American exposures to PBDEs may be particularly
high. Evidence to date suggests that tetra- and penta-BDEs are likely to be the more toxic and bioaccumulative of the
PBDE compounds, compared to octa- and deca-congeners. PBDEs are sold as mixtures, under names such as
“pentabromodiphenyl ether” and “octabromodiphenyl ether.” The pentabromo product is a mixture of tetra-BDEs and
penta-BDEs in approximately equal amounts. Pentabromo consists of PBDEs that are believed to be the most toxic.
This mixture has been banned by the European Union, but is still used in North America. The United States is the
leading producer and user of pentabromo. In August 2003, the State of California passed a bill to phase out the use
of penta- and octa-PBDE by 2008. The toxicology of PBDEs is not well understood, but PBDEs have been associated
with tumors, neurodevelopmental toxicity and thyroid hormone imbalance. The neurotoxic effects of PBDEs are similar
to those observed for PCBs. Children exposed to PBDEs are prone to subtle but measurable developmental
problems. It is presumed that PBDEs are endocrine disruptors, but research in this area is scant. Further studies are
imperative in a multitude of health and environmental disciplines to determine the adverse effects and mode of action
of this widespread emerging pollutant on human health.