Flame retardant exposure: polybrominated diphenyl ethers in blood from Swedish workers.

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Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are used as additives in polymers and textiles to prohibit the development of fires. Because of the production and use of PBDEs, their lipophilic characteristics, and persistence, these compounds have become ubiquitous environmental contaminants. The aim of the present study was to determine potential exposures of PBDEs to clerks working full-time at computer screens and personnel at an electronics-dismantling plant, with hospital cleaners as a control group. Five PBDE congeners--2,2´,4,4´-tetraBDE ; 2,2´,4,4´,5,5´-hexaBDE ; 2,2´,4,4´,5,6´-hexaBDE ; 2,2´,3,4,4´,5´,6-heptaBDE ; and decaBDE--were quantified in blood serum from all three categories of workers. Subjects working at the dismantling plant showed significantly higher levels of all PBDE congeners in their serum as compared to the control group. Decabromodiphenyl ether is present in concentrations of 5 pmol/g lipid weight (lw) in the personnel dismantling electronics ; these concentrations are comparable to the concentrations of 2,2´,4,4´-tetraBDE. The latter compound was the dominating PBDE congener in the clerks and cleaners. The major compound in personnel at the dismantling plant was 2,2´,3,4,4´,5´,6-heptaBDE. Concentrations of this PBDE congener are almost twice as high as for 2,2´,4,4´-tetraBDE in these workers and seventy times the level of this heptaBDE in cleaners. The total median PBDE concentrations in the serum from workers at the electronics-dismantling plant, clerks, and cleaners were 37, 7.3, and 5.4 pmol/g lw, respectively. The results show that decabromodiphenyl ether is bioavailable and that occupational exposure to PBDEs occurs at the electronics-dismantling plant.


  • Andreas Sjödin
  • Lars Hagmar
  • Eva Klasson-Wehler
  • Kerstin Diab
  • Eva Jakobsson
  • Åke Bergman
Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Miljömedicin och yrkesmedicin


Sidor (från-till)643-648
TidskriftEnvironmental Health Perspectives
StatusPublished - 1999
Peer review utfördJa