Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) which are often used as fire retardants, can be found around the home in such as the television, computer, toaster and the sofa.
They are also found in blood and breast milk which is clearly a concern for human health.
PBDEs alter calcium signalling in the brain – a critical mechanism for transmitting information between and within brain cells for learning and memory, and for regulating the release of hormones in the body.
Because they can slow the spread of fire PBDEs can be used in a variety of consumer goods such as electrical appliances, building materials and some foams and upholstery furnishings.
PBDEs can also be found in air, water and soil.
They are restricted under the RoHS Directive.