News sources report, in a study released Wednesday, researchers discovered that a group of pregnant women in California has shown some of the highest blood levels every recorded worldwide of a toxic flame retardant chemicals.
The University of California, San Francisco study tested 25 Northern and Central California women who were in their second trimester of pregnancy. The test results revealed that the women’s blood levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) (flame retardant chemicals that were for the most part banned in California in 2004) were two to three times higher than blood levels ever reported for any other group of pregnant women. The high levels of PBDEs put the women’s babies at risk, said the report. PBDE exposure can lead to liver and thyroid damage as well as impaired nerve development.
PBDEs were used frequently in furniture manufacturing in the United States and particularly in California. In the 1970s the state adopted a flammability standard that required furniture to withstand an open flame for 12 seconds. Despite their ban, PBDEs are still commonly found in older furniture including sofas, crib mattresses, and child safety seats as well as electronics. Researchers believe that U.S. born low income and minority women are more likely to be exposed to the chemicals because of a higher likelihood to use second-hand furniture.
As a Fresno personal injury attorney, I encourage consumers to stay abreast of safety developments in consumer products and to use the safest products whenever possible.