Flame retardants in household dust linked to childhood leukemia

Photo credit: Wicker Paradise Photo credit: Wicker Paradise

Household dust is one way in which people are exposed to flame retardants. Polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are flame retardants commonly found in household items and which are persistent in the environment. While some PBDEs (octaBDE and decaBDE) were phased out to due to their toxicity to humans, they are still present in many households and frequently make their way into household dust which is then inhaled or ingested. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives compared samples of dust from the households of children diagnosed with acute leukemia and households with healthy children. The results suggest that certain types of PBDEs, specifically octa and nonaBDEs, were associated with childhood leukemia.