Researchers at the NIH have discovered how some common flame retardants, particularly brominated flame retardants (BFRs), can mimic estrogen hormones and possibly disrupt the body’s endocrine system. According to the author, Linda Birnbaum, PhD, when chemicals act like estrogen or any other hormone, they may disrupt the endocrine system in a negative way. The endocrine system plays a significant role in controlling and coordinating numerous functions included growth and development, reproduction, response to stress, and energy levels.
There are many different types of flame retardants and they appear in many consumer products ranging from electronics to clothing. They are being studied because of their pervasiveness and concerns about possible adverse effects on the human body. Although many flame retardants are no longer produced in the US, some BFRs are slow to break down and can persists in the environment for years. Imported products may also have unknown flame retardants.
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