Common house dust may be an important source of a potentially dangerous class of chemicals called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), according to an exploratory study* by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Recent studies by others have found that PBDEs have been accumulating in human blood, fat tissue and breast milk.
PBDEs have been widely used in consumer products for years because they are effective flame retardants, greatly increasing the fire safety of products ranging from carpeting and cushions to televisions, computers and coffee makers. In recent years, however, concerns have grown with evidence that PBDE concentrations are increasing rapidly both in the environment and in human tissues and body fluids. Toxicological data on PBDEs is still limited, but the compounds have been implicated in developmental, reproductive, neurotoxicity and thyroid effects in rats, mice and fish, and may be carcinogenic. Researchers in Europe and the United States found concentrations of PBDEs higher in Americans than in Europeans, although it is not known if these levels affect human health.
Some studies have suggested that people accumulate PBDEs through diet (similar to polychlorinated biphyenyls or PCBs), however, diet alone does not seem to explain the high levels of PBDEs that have been measured in human breast milk and serum. According to the new NIST/EPA study, house dust and the home environment are likely candidates for other sources of exposure.
Michael Baum | EurekAlert!
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05.12.2017 | Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum
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The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
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An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."
Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...
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