PBDEs in Massachusetts: Occurrence, Risk and Regulatory Implications.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are synthetic brominated flame retardants used in
plastics and textiles in a wide array of consumer products. These compounds volatilize
from consumer products, are toxic at low concentrations, persist in the environment and
bioaccumulate in wildlife and humans. PBDEs are ubiquitous in the global natural
environment and have been detected in va... read morerious human tissues. For this thesis, I
conducted a human health risk assessment to evaluate potential risks to the general
population posed by PBDEs measured in the Massachusetts environment. Using data from
studies reporting PBDE levels in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the U.S., I employed a
deterministic risk model to calculate estimated risks and then compared the risks to
limits used by MassDEP and USEPA. The results of this risk assessment suggest that
children from birth to eleven years of age may experience potentially significant
non-cancer health risks from exposures to PDBEs. This is of concern because the
non-cancer risks are largely driven by exposure to congeners that have Reference Doses
based on adverse developmental neurological effects. Given that the brain and other
parts of the neurological system are still developing during infancy and early
childhood, young children are likely the most sensitive population for these critical
effects. Thus, the segment of the population that is likely experiencing the highest
level of exposure to PBDEs is also the most vulnerable to its critical effects. The
major findings of this study are similar to recent PBDE exposure studies conducted
elsewhere in the U.S.
Thesis (M.S.)--Tufts University, 2011.
Submitted to the Dept. of Civil Engineering.
Advisor: Anne Marie Desmarais.
Committee: David Gute, and Carol Rowan-West.
Keywords: Environmental Health, and Environmental Engineering.read less