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Jul 162009
 

From Green Right Now Reports:

A new study shows that chemicals found in flame retardants also are turning up in certain meat — and no, they’re not there intentionally to quell that internal fire from the barbecue.

These chemicals, known as PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) have been shown to have negative health consequences; they’re suspected of interfering with the human endocrine system and fertility and causing neurological damage. Until now, that meant we might want to evaluate the PBDEs in our upholstered furniture and mattresses, get our babies out of “flame retardant” clothing, and reduce our exposure to other things made with polyurethane foam and fabrics required to be flame retardant.

Researchers publishing in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives this month suggest we might want to also consider what we’re putting on our plate. They’re not quite sure how they’re getting there, but they’ve found that PBDE accumulation in the human body is associated with eating high-fat poultry and red meat.

The scientists, from the Boston University School of Public Health, speculated in the June article that the animal’s feed may have been contaminated or that PBDEs accumulated during the packaging and processing of the meat. PBDEs tend to aggregate in fat tissue and do not easily degrade.Somehow, though, their research found that this meat increased the levels of PBDEs in human consumers.

The researchers, however, found no similar accumulation related to the consumption of dairy or fish.

“Our study offers the first large-scale look at the effect of the American diet on PBDE body burdens showing significant associations with poultry and red meat consumption,” wrote the research team in a statement. “As PBDE-containing products continue to degrade and enter the waste stream in larger amounts, future exposure to PBDEs may begin to shift more heavily from the indoor environment to the outdoor environment and, consequently, the diet.”

EHP is an open access journal published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.