Pregnant women with higher blood levels of PBDEs, a common class of flame retardants, had altered thyroid hormone levels -- a fact that could have implications for fetal health.
PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, are organobromine compounds which are found in household items such as carpets, electronics and plastics. PBDEs can leach out into the environment and accumulate in human fat cells.
"Studies suggest that PBDEs can be found in the blood of up to 97 percent of U.S. residents, and at levels 20 times higher than those of people in Europe. Because of California's flammability laws, residents in this state have some of the highest exposures to PBDEs in the world."