Alternative flame retardant increases fat cells and decreases bone cells

Photo credit: Kalyan Kanuri Photo credit: Kalyan Kanuri

The flame retardants known as pentaBDEs were phased out in 2004 due to health concerns that created a market for new alternatives. Firemaster*500 has largely filled this gap. However, recent research has suggested that exposure to the flame retardant is linked to a variety of problems in rats including increased anxiety, obesity and early puberty. A recent study conducted by researchers at Boston University and Duke University has found that an ingredient in Firemaster*500—triphenyl phosphate (TPP)—interacts with a protein stimulating fat cell development while simultaneously suppressing the development of bone cells, suggesting that exposure may be linked to both obesity and osteoporosis in humans. Indoor exposure routes for children were also estimated. Results suggest that the majority of flame retardant exposure in children under three years of age was by mouth, with inhalation and absorption through the skin lesser but still significant routes.