According to the American Chemical Society (ACS):
A new study finds that pregnant women in Northern California have the highest PBDE flame retardant exposures reported to date among pregnant women worldwide.
It also describes some of the first evidence from humans that certain flame retardants may interfere with thyroid hormone signaling during pregnancy, which is critical to fetal brain development.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a common flame retardant used in electronics, furniture, clothing (including children’s pajamas), etc. PBDEs widespread usage has caused the chemical to build up in human bodies and the environment. Previous studies have found the flame retardant present in mother’s breastmilk and in peregrine falcon eggs.
Since 2004, certain PBDEs have been banned in California, but many products remain in our homes containing these “potentially toxic flame retardants”. Researchers suspect ” the high exposure most likely was the unintended consequence of California’s furniture flammability standards.” The results make me want to run out and buy new furniture!