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Open Access Brominated Flame Retardants – Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in the Swiss Environment

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Brominated flame retardants (BFR) are additives used to protect plastic materials and textiles against ignition. As some widely used BFR have chemical structures similar to well known endocrine disruptors such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) or bisphenol A, adverse effects were also presumed for BFR. When the NRP50 programme started in 2001, the sparse knowledge on environmental behavior and toxicology of BFR did not allow a proper assessment of the risks associated with the widespread use of these chemicals. Therefore, we proposed to address questions such as the exposure of animals and humans, temporal trends in the environment as well as transformation and transport processes of BFR. Concentrations of BFR in wildlife and humans in Switzerland today pose no serious concerns for negative health effects according to the current knowledge on the toxicity of BFR. However, negative health effects cannot be ruled out in the future, since some BFR persist in the environment and their concentrations in freshwater lake sediments are increasing rapidly. The development of environmentally safe alternatives to these chemicals will be an important issue for the future.

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Keywords: BROMINATED FLAME RETARDANTS; EMERGING CONTAMINANTS; ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS; PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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  • International Journal for Chemistry and Official Membership Journal of the Swiss Chemical Society (SCS) and its Divisions

    CHIMIA, a scientific journal for chemistry in the broadest sense, is published 10 times a year and covers the interests of a wide and diverse readership. Contributions from all fields of chemistry and related areas are considered for publication in the form of Review Articles and Notes. A characteristic feature of CHIMIA are the thematic issues, each devoted to an area of great current significance.

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