Flame retardants are used in everything from computers to textiles and they are increasingly being distributed in the environment. Like PCB, flame retardants are found in seals in Svalbard, in fish and fisheating birds in the Baltic and now new analysis have found flame retardants in human blood. Scientists fear that reproduction will be affected. Up to 30 percent of the plastic casing in a computer or TV can consist of flame retardants. A group of flame retardants, PBDE are almost identical in their chemical structure to PCB which binds to the thyroid gland which regulates many functions such as behaviour, hunger, if one feels cold or warm, explains professor Aake Bergman, professor of environmental chemsitry at the University of Stockholm. We now have indications from Holland that flame retardants bind in the same way as PCB does.
The article mentions that some manufacturers have received the TCO95 cetrificate because their outside plastic casings on the computers do not contain flame retardants. But inside, the microchips still contain flame retardants. There is no commercial alternative. Most microchips these days contain a flame retardant TBBA(tetra-bromide-bis-phenol A). The newspaper asked Conny Oestman at the Work Life Institute about the dangers of long term exposure. He replied: We know that TBBA is released in small doses. It is bound in plastics, but a certain amount of molecules can be outside the plastic. TBBA can also be absorbed by blood and tissues and is broken down, very slowly. Swedish scientists have found it in electrically sensitive individuals. These chemicals are fat soluble and can be accumulated in the body. This means that one can build up a high concentration in the body even though the levels of exposure, are very low.
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