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Pregnant women carry fewer traces of flame retardants

Class of toxins linked to IQ deficits dropped drastically in three years, new study shows

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California’s 2003 ban on a type of flame retardant may be influencing the circulation of the chemical in people's blood. Traces of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, in the blood of pregnant women decreased by 65 percent over a three-year period in the years following the ban, a new study shows.

The results are published September 25 in Environmental Science & Technology.

Scientists took blood samples from pregnant women seeking medical care in San Francisco between 2008-2009 and 2011-2012 and tested it for traces of PBDEs. This class of flame retardants has been put into furniture and other common products and has also been linked to health problems and learning difficulties in children. In addition to California's ban, PBDEs have been phased out of use in the United States.

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