NTP evaluates toxicity of replacement flame retardants
National Toxicology Program (NTP) researchers and their collaborators found that replacement flame retardants may cause the same toxic effects previously seen with older brominated flame retardants. The scientists initiated the study because polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants are no longer used in commercial products due to human health concerns, and organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs) have taken their place. However, experts raised the possibility that these replacement flame retardants — which have been detected in house dust, drinking water, and human tissues — may be toxic as well.
The research team used the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans as an alternative toxicological model to evaluate the toxicity of the brominated flame retardants and their replacements. The work showed that 11 of the 12 flame retardants tested, including both organophosphate and brominated chemicals, were active in different toxicity endpoints tested in the C. elegans model. One OPFR, triphenyl phosphate, appeared to induce the same toxicity as some of the PBDEs, including similar effects on C. elegans reproduction and larval development. (KS)
Citation: Behl M, Rice JR, Smith MV, Co CA, Bridge M, Hsieh JH, Freedman JH, Boyd WA. 2016. Comparative toxicity of organophosphate flame retardants and polybrominated diphenyl ethers to Caenorhabditis elegans. Toxicol Sci; doi:10.1093/toxsci/kfw162 [Online 26 Aug 2016].