06 Jun 2012:
Flame Retardant Triggers
Health Risks at Low Doses, Study Says
Even small doses of a flame retardant commonly used in furniture and baby products has been linked to harmful health effects
, including obesity and developmental and reproductive problems, according to a
new study. Speaking at a conference in Canada, Duke University chemist Heather Stapleton said baby rats whose mothers ate small amounts of the flame-retardant chemical, Firemaster 550, gained more weight than those that weren’t exposed. Female offspring exposed to the chemical were more anxious, reached puberty earlier, and were shown to have abnormal reproductive cycles. While earlier studies found that harmful effects were evident only at doses of 50 milligrams per kilogram of weight, the new study assessed exposure to doses as low as 3 milligrams per kilogram. “This raises red flags about a widely used chemical that we know little about,” said Stapleton, co-author of the study. “What we do know is, it’s common in house dust and that people, especially kids, are being exposed to it.” According to the Chicago Tribune
, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency next year will conduct a risk assessment of two brominated compounds found in Firemaster 550.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.