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DHS news release

Jan. 18, 2008

General contact: Bonnie Widerburg, 971-673-1282
Program contact: Deanna Conners, Ph.D., 971-673-0444

Public comments sought for PBDE flame retardant report

The Oregon Department of Human Services today released a draft report on PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ether) flame retardants for public comment.

The 2007 legislature requested DHS environmental health officials to review new scientific findings regarding PBDE's after safety concerns were raised about their widespread use and disposal.

Two commercial PBDE products have been phased out of production in North America and Europe. However, one product, decaBDE, remains in worldwide commercial use as a flame retardant, according to Deanna Conners, Ph.D., toxicologist in the DHS Public Health Division.

Conners said that current science suggests decaBDE is a persistent environmental contaminant with a low-to-moderate ability to accumulate in people and wildlife.

"While recent risk assessments indicate that decaBDE does not pose an immediate health hazard, additional safety studies are warranted to assess how decaBDE may affect the endocrine and nervous systems during childhood development," she said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently updating its toxicological assessment for decaBDE, and results are expected to be released this year, Conners noted.

The draft report released today recommends that Oregon continue to review any new research and federal developments regarding children's environmental health and decaBDE.

Public comments will be accepted through Feb. 17, 2008, and should be mailed to: PBDE Comments, Oregon DHS Office of Environmental Public Health, Environmental Toxicology, Suite 640, Portland, OR, 97232.

Conners said public comments may also be submitted electronically as Adobe pdf files or Microsoft Word files. Electronic submissions should be sent via e-mail to Genera​l.Toxicology@state.or.us, with a subject heading "PBDE comments."