July 11, 2011
-- Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are flame-retardant chemicals that are added to plastics and foam products to make them difficult to burn. PBDEs exist as mixtures of similar chemicals called congeners. Because they are mixed into plastics and foams rather than bound to them, PBDEs can leave the products that contain them and enter the environment.
There are different kinds of PBDEs; some have only a few bromine atoms attached, while some have as many as ten bromine attached to the central molecule. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “These chemicals are major components of commercial formulations often used as flame retardants in furniture foam (pentaBDE), plastics for TV cabinets, consumer electronics, wire insulation, back coatings for draperies and upholstery (decaBDE), and plastics for personal computers and small appliances (octaBDE). The benefit of these chemicals is their ability to slow ignition and rate of fire growth, and as a result increase available escape time in the event of a fire.”
Last month a new peer-reviewed study was published in the Environmental Health Perspectives entitled “Exposure to PBDEs in the Office Environment:
Evaluating the Relationship Between Dust, Handwipes, and Serum”. It provided new research on the presence of PBDEs in office environments and concluded that “…research suggests exposure to PentaBDEs in the office environment contributes to PentaBDE body burden with exposure likely linked to PBDE residues on hands.”
“When most people head to the office the last thing they expect to happen is to be exposed to toxic chemicals on a daily basis,” reported Brian Mcfarland, Vice President of Legends Environmental Insurance Services, a leading provider of insurance coverage to the IAQ and environmental industries. “Fortunately environmental professionals can test for PBDEs to establish if it is detectable in people’s work and home environments and if levels are high enough to cause concern,” he continued.
To learn more about Legends Environmental Insurance Services please visit: http://www.Legends-enviro.com
, call (800) 992-6999 or email BrianM@Legends-
enviro.com or bill@Legends-
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