New UCSF study finds alarming level of flame-retardant chemicals in pregnant women’s blood
A recent study led by the University of California, San Francisco, found a link between California’s strict flammability regulations and high levels of flame-retardant chemicals found in the blood of pregnant women.
The UCSF research team found the highest level of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) ever reported worldwide among pregnant women in blood serum taken from 25 mostly low-income Northern and Central California women who were in their second trimester of pregnancy. Furniture and electronics manufacturers, in accordance with California’s strict standards, began using various PBDE mixtures in their products in the 1970s as flame-retardants. Being in the presence of poorly manufactured and/or deteriorating furniture can result in higher exposure to PBDEs.
The chemical’s presence in pregnant women is especially alarming because of the documented relationship between PBDEs and prenatal neurological damage and disrupted thyroid function in the mother.