9/25/2013

Did banning PCBs cause other more harmful chemicals to be used to replace them?

From Fox News:

If you purchased a couch before 2006, there’s a possibility it could be filled with foam containing the chemical polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) – a substance banned in California and phased out by manufacturers nationwide after it was linked to low IQ in children.
Fortunately, new research from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) indicates that the 2006 ban on the substance has had impressive, far-reaching effects, indicating that taking fast action against toxic substances can create huge benefits for human health.
“PBDEs became more in vogue as a substitute for PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl ethers), which were banned in the 70s and used to reduce flammability,” Tracey Woodruff, the director of UCSF’s program on reproductive health and the environment, told FoxNews.com. “They’re found in computers (and) a lot in foam, polyurethane foam used in coaches, to decrease flammability.”
However, PBDEs quickly fell under scrutiny after studies started to show an association between exposure to the chemical and low IQ.  Further concern was raised when studies revealed that increasingly large quantities of PBDEs were appearing in women’s breast milk. . . .

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