High Exposure to Organophosphate Flame Retardants in Infants: Associations with Baby Products

Study finds flame retardant exposure higher in infants than adults

image of Flame-Retardants-in-Infants chart
A growing list of major retail stores have pledged to stop selling furniture containing flame retardants, which research suggests could cause developmental problems. Despite the trend, however, it could take years before widespread exposure declines. And now, a study in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology has revealed more bad news: Infants could potentially be affected the most. The report also looks at potential exposure routes.

2015 Study Abstract

Infant products containing polyurethane foam are commonly treated with organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs), including tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCIPP) and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP). Infants may have greater exposure due to greater contact with these products, yet little is known about levels of exposure or the factors contributing to higher exposure.

We recruited children age 2–18 months from North Carolina to investigate PFR exposure (n = 43; recruited 2014–2015). Parents provided information on potential sources and modifiers of exposure, and reported whether they owned common infant products.

We measured five PFR metabolites in urine samples collected from children. TDCIPP and TPHP metabolites (bis(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (BDCIPP) and diphenyl phosphate (DPHP)) were most commonly detected (>93% detect). Other metabolites were detected infrequently (<35% detect). Although we did not observe a clear age trend for infants, BDCIPP levels were substantially higher than those reported for adults (geometric mean = 7.3 ng/mL). The number of infant products owned was strongly associated with BDCIPP; children with >16 products had BDCIPP levels that were 6.8 times those with (<13). (p = 0.02). Infants attending daycare centers also had higher BDCIPP levels (3.7 times those of others; p = 0.07), suggesting time spent in this microenvironment contributes to higher exposure. In contrast, DPHP levels were not related to products owned, time in different microenvironments, or behavior.

Source and more information
  • Study finds flame retardant exposure higher in infants than adults, American Chemical Society, December 02, 2015.
  • High Exposure to Organophosphate Flame Retardants in Infants: Associations with Baby Products, American Chemical Society, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b03577, November 9, 2015.

 

Author: DES Daughter

Activist, blogger and social media addict committed to shedding light on a global health scandal and dedicated to raise DES awareness.

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