Norway: an eye on flame retardants

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) is investigating the extent to which people is exposed to flame retardants substances, including persistent brominated and chlorinated compounds, but also phosphoric acid-based compounds that degrade easily.
Flame retardants are used extensively in a variety of consumer products such as textiles, electrical and electronic equipment and various plastic products to prevent or limit fire. The most commonly used compounds are tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and hexabromcyclododecane (HBCD).
The latter two groups of compounds have long been in the spotlight because of their adverse environmental and health properties. Production and use of these compounds is prohibited in Norway and the EU. In several other countries, processes have begun that will lead to a ban.
The new compounds are partially brominated compounds related to PBDEs, but also polychlorinated substances and they all appear to persist in the environment. In contrast, phosphoric acid-based compounds degrade relatively easily but exposure to such substances over long periods can also be hazardous to health.

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