PDBEs: Where Do They Come From And What Are They Doing To Us?

They are discovering new problems with them.

Photo by daviddesign via Flickr.

Having trouble getting pregnant? If you've gotten the caffeine habit under control and are managing your stress, the culprit might just be your mattress or carpet.

A new study out of University of California at Berkeley and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives reveals women with higher levels of PBDEs in their blood took longer to conceive than women with lower levels of PBDEs in their blood. PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, are a group of chemicals, of which three are used commercially as fire retardants in a variety of household products.

More in TreeHugger: Women With High PBDE Levels 50 Percent Slower to Conceive, New Study Says

They are acting like birth control pills.

UC Berkeley researchers are reporting that exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) - found in carpets, electronics, foam furniture and other common household items - is associated with "subfertility" in women.

More in TreeHugger: Are Carpets & Computers Dispensing Timed-Release Birth Control Vapors?

How to avoid them:

-get your mattress at IKEA or wherever they have a PBDE-free policy.
-H&M; does not allow solvents or other hazardous chemicals in the manufacture of its clothing.
-Dell computers has eliminated PDBE's from its products.
-Volvo has eliminated PDBE's and Phthalates from its cars.

More in TreeHugger: How To: Avoid Toxic Chemicals in Your House

What can we do about them? Ban them.

The most effective and commonly used flame retardant Deca-BDE will be phased out by 2013 in the United States under a new deal between Chemtura and Albemarle Corp., its US producers, ICL Industrial Products Inc., the largest US importer, and the Environmental Protection Agency, Eco Textile News reports. The chemical is a polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) used in upholstery textiles, carpet backings, mattresses, cars, buses, aircraft, and construction materials, that can potentially cause cancer and may impact brain function.

More in TreeHugger: U.S. To Phase Out Cancerous Flame Retardant Chemical by 2013

Design them out of our systems

Perhaps if houses had sprinklers, then manufacturers would not have to use flame retardants that are showing up in our blood.

Many natural materials burn; when you fill them with chemicals so that they don't, they are no longer natural. Let's deal with the problem the way we have for thousands of years; throw cold water on it.

More in TreeHugger: Put Sprinklers in Every Housing Unit

Tags: Chemicals

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