Andreas Kortenkamp, Richard Evans, Olwenn Martin, Michael Faust, Thomas Backhaus
Decabromodiphenyl ether BDE-209 acts as a slow-relase reeservoir for lower brominated, more toxic PBDEs, via abiotic and biotic transformation processes. As a result, human populations and biota worldwide are exposed to BDE-209 and other PBDEs in combination. Young children experience the highest exposures of all age groups.
While the critical toxicity of BDE-209 to humans is judged to be developmental neurotoxicity, the
effects in biota are more varied. Plants and algae do not appear to be sensitive, but molluscs react
with DNA damage. In fish and amphibians, effects attributable to thyroid disruption occur.
It is plausibel to expect combination effects of BDE-209 and other congeners in terms of
developmental neurotoxicity. An assessment of combined human exposures revealed that tolerable
exposures are exceeded for all age groups, but particularly for small children, which warrants health
concerns. A scoping mixture risk assessment for environmental scenarios revealed concerns for top
predators, especially polar bears.