Milk from 50 mothers in or around Seattle was analysed for 66 BFRs: 37 PBDES or metabolites (a class of BFRs which has been largely phased out), 8 bromophenols and 8 other substitute BFRs. PBDEs were found in 100% of women’s breast milk at median 15 parts per billion (ppb = ng/g), confirming a decline over the last decade (corresponding to phase-out). Bromophenols were found in 88% of samples (median c. 1 ppb). The other BFRs were found only in a few samples, except PBBZ (a pentabromobenzene) in 88%. Exposure estimates for breastfed infants suggest exceedance of EPA risk reference doses for PBDEs in c. 10% (5/50 women). To date, reference doses are not defined for the substitute BFRs. The authors note that the results show that “legacy” BFRs and new “substitute” BFRs are both now found in US mothers’ breast milk.
“Brominated flame retardants in breast milk from the United States: First detection of bromophenols in U.S. breast milk”, E. Schreder et al., Environmental Pollution 334 (2023) 122028 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2023.122028