PBDE/Breast Milk Monitoring

Project Timeline: 3/1/2003-6/30/2004

For this project, Sequoia Foundation developed and implemented a survey to develop data to identify and characterize significant sources and major pathways of exposure to polybrominated diphenyl etbers (PBDEs), flame retardant additives to certain plastics, foams, and fabrics that are used in consumer products.

Breast milk samples were collected from various communities in California and measured for levels of PBDEs. To help identify the potential major sources and pathways of exposure, an Exposure Assessment Questionnaire was administered to the breast milk donors to determine their residential, occupational, and dietary histories, and to characterize various parameters and factors that may reflect potential PBDE exposures. By comparing questionnaire responses from persons who had high PBDE levels with responses from people who had low PBDE levels, a hypotheses was generated and descriptions about major sources and pathways of environmental exposures to the PBDEs. These data was delivered for use in designing pollution prevention strategies that will reduce human exposures to the PBDEs.