Friday, May 25, 2012

Some toddlers more exposed than others to flame retardants

Furniture is a common source of exposure
to flame retardants, researchers say.
Does race and socioeconomic status play a role in a child’s exposure to chemicals?

A study of North Caroline toddlers shows that non-white toddlers are more exposed to flame-retardant chemicals than white toddlers.

Exposure may be higher in toddlers whose fathers do not have a college degree, which serves as a proxy measure of lower socioeconomic background.

The toddlers are usually exposed through hand-to-mouth activity or factors related to age and duration of breastfeeding, the researchers say.

The study examined the levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in 83 toddlers between 12 and 36 months of age.

Sources of chemical exposure

PBDEs are a class of long-lasting chemicals, which were widely used as flame retardant additives in consumer products such as polyurethane foam padding, electronics, mattresses and furniture.

Toddlers (and adults) can inhale or ingest these chemicals, which can accumulate in the body and may be linked to disrupted endocrine activity and thyroid regulation, low birth weight and developmental problems.

House dust is a big source of exposure for toddlers, the study shows.

But dust can’t be the reason why there was such a big difference in exposure between nonwhite and white toddlers: white toddlers averaged 32 parts per billion of PBDE chemicals in their blood, while nonwhite toddlers averaged 60 parts per billion.

According to the researchers, the best ways to reduce exposure include:
  • Frequent hand-washing
  • Researching household products to find out which, if any, flame retardants are being used
 The study appeared in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Source: Duke University

Air purifiers to battle dust, particles, airborne chemicals

Source control is a great way to reduce chemical exposures in the home, but so many products that are already there may be off-gassing chemicals and contribute to contaminated dust and other exposures.

The AirMedics are effective dust,
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That is why ventilation and air purification also play a major role in mitigating the risks of exposure to environmental pollution.

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