Date of Award

1-1-2012

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Environmental Health Sciences

First Advisor

David C Volz

Abstract

The commercial polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) mixture known as PentaBDE was once the primary flame retardant (FR) used in the US to comply with California's Technical Bulletin 117 (TB117) - a mandated flammability standard for polyurethane foam within upholstered furniture and baby products. In 2004, due to concerns about persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity, PentaBDE was voluntarily phased out, prompting an industry-wide shift toward the use of alternative flame retardant formulations containing at least one of the two major classes of organophosphate-based flame retardants (OPFRs) - chlorinated phosphate esters (CPEs) and aryl phosphate esters (APEs). Due to rapid adoption as PentaBDE replacements, organophosphate-based flame retardants (OPFRs) have been detected at concentrations comparable to and, in some cases, higher than total PBDE concentrations in household dust, suggesting that chronic human exposure to these alternative flame retardants following leaching from treated products is common within the United States. Despite the need for a better understanding of the potential developmental effects of OPFRs (since infants and children tend to (1) ingest more house dust than adults due to crawling and mouthing behaviors and (2) be exposed up to five times the acceptable daily OPFR intake level due to use in residential furniture), most studies to date have focused on the genotoxicity or neurotoxicity of OPFRs within adult animals.

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