News / 

Fire Retardant Found in Breast Milk

Posted - Sep. 23, 2003 at 3:40 p.m.

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

HOUSTON, Sep 23, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A toxic chemical that retards fire in numerous products is appearing in higher amounts in women's breast milk in the United States.

The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental research organization, tested the milk of 20 women and found polybrominated diphenyl ethers levels of 9.5 to 1,078 parts per billion.

The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, by University of Texas at Houston found levels of PBDE in breast milk from 5 to 418 parts per billion in 47 American women.

The PBDE levels were the highest in the world: 10 to 20 times higher than those in Europe, where the chemicals are being phased out, USA Today reported.

It's not known what effects, if any, the chemical has on humans.

In mice and rats, studies show PBDEs may cause cognitive and behavior changes during development and lead to higher cancer rates, but Peter O'Toole of the Bromine Science and Environmental Forum told USA Today, human effects can't be extrapolated from rodents.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.


Catch up on the top news and features from, sent weekly.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast