Ten years later, flame retardant ban good news for baby

A new study published today in Environmental Science & Technology has some good news for a change. The authors found dramatic declines in the levels of toxic flame retardants in pregnant women’s blood in San Francisco. The flame retardants in question, certain kinds of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), were banned in California about ten years ago, and phased out nationwide around the same time because of health and environmental concerns. The levels in pregnant women are of particular interest because…

Read more

Dangerous inheritance: When chemicals pass from mom to baby

I can only imagine the joy parents must feel when they look at their baby’s face and see something of themselves in it. My own father proudly takes credit for my blue eyes while my mother insists that I got my big smile from her. Like so many of us, I inherited some of my best traits from my mom, but I also inherited something hidden and far more troubling—the burden of chemicals in her body. Everyone’s first environment is…

Read more

Flame retardants transferred at high levels to baby whales

“Baby beluga in the deep blue sea” is born with high levels of flame retardants A new study from University of Victoria found that arctic beluga whales transferred about 11% of their polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) blubber burden to their near-term fetuses. The implications of this exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds during a critical developmental stage in the unborn whales are unclear. Full reference: Desforges, J.-P. W., Ross, P. S., & Loseto, L. L. (2012). Transplacental transfer…

Read more