Exposures, mechanisms, and impacts of endocrine-active flame retardants

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HighlightsWidespread exposure to flame retardants occurs in indoor environments.Indoor exposure is associated with body burdens.Highest human exposures occur in early development, a sensitive window.PBDEs elicit neurodevelopmental and thyroid hormone disrupting effects.OPFRs also appear to be endocrine active.This review summarizes the endocrine and neurodevelopmental effects of two current-use additive flame retardants (FRs), tris (1,3-dichloro-isopropyl) phosphate (TDCPP) and Firemaster® 550 (FM 550), and the recently phased-out polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), all of which were historically or are currently used in polyurethane foam applications. Use of these chemicals in consumer products has led to widespread exposure in indoor environments. PBDEs and their hydroxylated metabolites appear to primarily target the thyroid system, likely due to their structural similarity to endogenous thyroid hormones. In contrast, much less is known about the toxicity of TDCPP and FM 550. However, recent in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that both should be considered endocrine disruptors as studies have linked TDCPP exposure with changes in circulating hormone levels, and FM 550 exposure with changes in adipogenic and osteogenic pathways.

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