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Keywords:

  • Brominated flame retardants;
  • Decabromodiphenyl ether;
  • Exposure assessment;
  • Children's health;
  • Risk assessment

Abstract

Decabromodiphenyl (oxide) ether (Deca) is a widely used brominated flame retardant in the United States predominantly in the hard-plastic housings of consumer electronics and in flame-retarded backing on textiles used in furniture. A child-specific exposure assessment of Deca was performed for the US Environmental Protection Agency's Voluntary Children's Chemical Evaluation Program (VCCEP). The VCCEP guidance for a tier 1 exposure assessment requires that a screening-level assessment be conducted using currently available data and conservative assumptions. For Deca, relevant exposure pathways considered were general environmental exposures (e.g., exposures to contaminated soil, dust, air, and food), breast milk exposures, inhalation of Deca-containing particulates in air, and mouthing Deca-containing consumer products. For each of these scenarios, a mid-range and upper estimate of age-appropriate intakes were calculated. The calculated intakes indicate that, despite the uncertainties, children appear to be exposed to Deca at levels at least 1 order of magnitude, with most being several orders of magnitude, below the National Academy of Sciences reference dose for Deca of 4 mg/kg/d. This analysis indicates that, using the available data, current levels of Deca in the United States are unlikely to represent an adverse health risk for children.