Sunday, April 20, 2003

Chemical buildup may cause brain damage

Los Angeles Times
April 20, 2003

"Toxic chemicals used as flame retardants are rapidly building up in the bodies of people and wildlife around the world, approaching levels in American women and their babies that could harm developing brains, new research shows.

The chemicals, PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, are used to reduce the spread of fire in an array of plastic and foam products in homes and offices, including upholstered furniture, building materials, televisions, computers and other electronic equipment...."

This year, the European Union banned the two PBDE compounds that have been shown to accumulate in human bodies.

Some European industries had already begun to phase out the chemicals, and levels in the breast milk of European women have begun to decline.

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