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IPEN

A Toxics-Free Future

Health and Environmental Hazards of PBDEs and Other BFRs

Prepared by Ann Blake, PhD

September 2004

This document summarizes issues with polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), a group of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) that are commonly used in consumer electronics, including computers, as well as in the polyurethane foam of upholstered furniture. Brominated flame retardants are, in turn, a subclass of the over 175 different types of flame retardant chemicals in common use on the world market. The main classes of flame retardant chemicals are the halogenated organics (brominated and chlorinated), phosphorus-containing, nitrogen-containing, and inorganic flame retardants.

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