Predictors of tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBP-A) and hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCD) in milk from Boston mothers

C.C. Carignan, M.A.-E. Abdallah, N. Wu, W. Heiger-Bernays, M.D. McClean, S. Harrad, T.F. Webster

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65 Citations (Scopus)


Tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBP-A) and hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) are brominated flame retardants that have been found in human milk and serum throughout the world, but have received comparatively little attention in the United States. The objective of this study is to determine concentrations of these analytes in samples of breast milk collected from first-time mothers in the Greater Boston, Massachusetts area and to explore predictors of exposure. Human milk samples were analyzed by LC-ESI-MS/MS for TBBP-A, HBCDs (the α, β, and γ diastereomers), and HBCD degradation products: pentabromocyclododecanes (PBCDs) and tetrabromocyclododecadienes (TBCDs). HBCD diastereomers were detected in all samples with α-HBCD present in the highest proportion. TBBP-A, PBCDs, and TBCDs were detected in 35%, 42%, and 56% of the analyzed samples, respectively. Self-reported demographic, dietary and behavioral data were examined as predictors of HBCD levels. Levels of HBCD were significantly, positively associated with the number of stereo and video electronics in the home (17% increase/item; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 4-31%) and reduced in participants who regularly chose organic foods compared to those who did not (0.51, 95% CI = 0.32-0.82). These results suggest that lifestyle factors are related to body burdens of HBCD and that domestic electronics may be an important source of HBCD exposure in the indoor environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12146-12153
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2012


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