Brominated flame-retardants are produced synthetically, and there are around 70 varying compounds. They are used in everything from textiles and plastics to electronics and household furnishings. North America is the largest user of BFRs because of strict fire safety laws enacted in the 50’s and 60’s.
These substances are not chemically bound to plastics, foam, fabrics, or other products in which they are used, making them more likely to leach out of these products.
Many congeners are persistent and bioaccumulative and toxic to humans and the environment. They can have severe neurobehavioral effects on people. BFRs can impair nervous system development in children, as well as thyroid issues in adults.
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