PBDEs and PBBs in human serum and breast milk from cohabiting UK couples

Lindsay Bramwell*, Alwyn Fernandes, Martin Rose, Stuart Harrad, Tanja Pless-Mulloli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
178 Downloads (Pure)


Concentrations of PBDEs and PBBs were measured in matched blood and breast milk samples from 10 UK couples collected in 2011-12. These data are the first measurements in human serum from the UK since the 2004 EU ban on all uses of the penta-and octa-BDE formulations and the 2008 ban on the use of the deca-BDE formulation in some applications. Serum ∑PBDE tri-hepta concentrations ranging from 1.0 to 16ngg-1 lipid weight, with median 4.0ngg-1 lw were measured. Breast milk ∑PBDE tri-hepta concentrations ranged from 1.3 to 21ngg-1 lw, with median 5.7ngg-1 lw. Couples had similar serum congener concentrations unless one of them frequently stayed away from home for work (different diet and dust exposures) or one had occupational exposure to foams and furnishings or electronics. BB-153 were measured above LOD in 40% of sera and 100% of breast milks samples, with median concentrations of 0.04 and 0.06, and maximums of 0.91 and 0.79ngg-1 lw respectively. Concentrations in this study indicated a modest decrease from pre-ban levels reported for the UK. BDE-209 was detected above the limit of detection (LOD) in 15% of sera and 83% of breast milks, with ranges <1.2-20 and <0.2-1.0ngg-1 lw respectively. Average daily infant intakes were estimated at 17, 5, 5 and 3ngkg-1 bw for BDE-47,-99,-153 and -209 respectively, all well below relevant US-EPA threshold reference dose values (RfDs).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
Early online date16 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Event6th International Symposium on Flame Retardants (BFR2013) - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 7 Apr 201310 Apr 2013


  • Human
  • Milk
  • PBB
  • PBDE
  • Serum
  • UK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry


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