Science Inventory

Brominated Flame Retardants.


Kodavanti, P., T. Stoker, AND S. Fenton. Brominated Flame Retardants. Chapter 38, Ramesh Gupta (ed.), Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology (Second Edition). Academic Press Incorporated, Orlando, FL, , 681-710, (2017).


This is a book chapter covering history, environmental contamination, human exposure, health effects, toxicokinetics and future directions.


BFRs belong to a growing group of organohalogen chemicals. They can be highly persistent, bioaccumulative and cause adverse effects in humans and wildlife. Although some BFRs are banned or voluntarily withdrawn from usage by the manufacturer, emerging and existing BFRs continue to be used in industrialized countries. Because of the widespread use and large quantities of these chemicals in consumer products and household items, indoor contamination is proposed to be a significant source of human exposure. Other exposure routes are oral – both via breast milk, fat-containing foods, hand to mouth activity, etc.Recent epidemiological studies clearly indicated that BFRs affect human health. The human health effects include cryptorchidism, alterations in thyroid hormone homeostasis, reproductive effects and reduced development of children at school age that include psychomotor development index and IQ performance. Studies have also indicated that the infant daily exposure dose of PBDEs due to inhalation, accidental oral ingestion and dermal absorption of house dust was significantly higher than that of the adults. Many rodent studies have confirmed that developmental exposure to these compounds should be limited. Studies in rodents indicated that several BFRs are developmental neurotoxicants affecting the nervous system growth and function. Several studies have also confirmed that the BFRs are indeed endocrine disruptors, with the potential to disrupt male and female reproductive development and adult reproductive function by having anti-androgenic actions (males) and by altering steroidogenic activities. This has been demonstrated in several in vivo studies using rodent models and by in vitro systems to determine effects on receptor binding (AR, CAR and PXR) and on steroidogenesis. There is also increasing evidence in cell and animal models that BFRs may activate those nuclear receptors and related pathways to modify adipogenesis or lipogenesis. These potential modes of action may also be relevant to humans. This is incredibly important to consider as there have been several reports of adverse health consequences associated with increased PBDE exposure in humans in the last few years. Further research is needed to determine the long-term adverse consequences of exposures to the BFR described herein as well as a number of emerging replacement chemicals coming onto the market, since these compounds are known to bioaccumulate and can be transplacentally and lactationally transferred.

Record Details:

Product Published Date:04/21/2017
Record Last Revised:06/26/2018
OMB Category:Other
Record ID: 341415