Urgent warning after 25 types of toxic flame retardant found in human breast milk

TOXIC flame retardants have been found in human breast milk, scientists warn.

Some 25 different chemicals were detected, posing threats to babies, a US study found.

GettyToxic flame retardants have been found in human breast milk, scientists warn[/caption]

They analysed the milk of 50 mothers in the country, finding brominated flame retardants — man-made chemicals used to make products less flammable — in all the samples.

Erika Schreder, of Toxic-Free Future in Seattle, said: “Some regulatory bodies, in the EU and at the state level in the US, have moved to restrict the use of BFRs in electronics. 

“At the same time, however, production and use of these compounds continue.

“They are likely to impact children’s health until governments require companies to end their use and switch to safer solutions.”

Brominated flame retardants are a class of around 75 chemicals.

Some older versions of the chemicals were banned from the market in the 1970s because they were too toxic.

But newer versions have begun to come back in products, prompting concerns among researchers.

The study, published in the Elsevier journal Environmental Pollution, looked at whether the phaseout of the chemicals has lowered the amount of exposure babies get 10 years later.

They recruited women from around Seattle between March and October 2019. 

Some 25 brominated flame retardants were found in the samples, including some that were banned from the market a decade ago.

Those are called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) and they have been linked to health risks in children.

Companies have increasingly switched to bromophenols since the PBDE ban in some states, which were found in 88 per cent of the breast milk.

Bromophenols have also been linked to brain development disorders. 

Schreder described the findings as “disturbing”.

She told The Guardian: “The parallels between these chemicals are extremely disturbing, and we’re seeing bromophenols building up in breast milk.

“I hope we can learn our lesson this time and put policies in place that address the entire class and make sure chemicals used in products are known to be safe.”

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