Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Flame retardant 'Firemaster 550' is an endocrine disruptor, study finds

Date:
October 24, 2012
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
The flame-retardant mixture known as "Firemaster 550" is an endocrine disruptor that causes extreme weight gain, early onset of puberty and cardiovascular health effects in lab animals, according to a new study.

The flame-retardant mixture known as "Firemaster 550" is an endocrine disruptor that causes extreme weight gain, early onset of puberty and cardiovascular health effects in lab animals, according to a new study spearheaded by researchers from North Carolina State University and Duke University.

Firemaster 550 is made up of four principal component chemicals and is used in polyurethane foam in a wide variety of products, ranging from mattresses to infant nursing pillows. The flame-retardant mixture was developed by Chemtura Corp., and was first identified by the research community in 2008. It was developed to replace a class of fire retardants being phased out of use because of concerns regarding their safety. This new study represents the first public data on whether Firemaster 550 has potential health effects.

In this pilot study, pregnant lab rats were assigned to three groups: a control group, which was not exposed to Firemaster 550; a "low-dose" group, which ingested 100 micrograms of Firemaster 550 once per day throughout pregnancy and nursing; and a "high-dose" group, which ingested 1,000 micrograms on the same schedule. These environmentally relevant doses are lower than the doses used in industry-funded studies. Researchers then evaluated the physiological outcomes of the exposure in both the mothers (called dams) and the offspring (called pups).

Importantly, the researchers detected TBB, one of Firemaster 550's component chemicals, in the fat of all the exposed dams and offspring, but none of the unexposed animals. This means the flame retardant is capable of crossing the placenta during pregnancy, reaching infants via breast milk, or both.

Because flame retardants that have been phased out are known to disrupt thyroid function, and Firemaster 550 includes chemicals with structural similarities, the researchers looked at circulating thyroid hormone levels in dams at the end of the nursing period. The high-dose dams had much higher thyroid hormone levels than the control group, while low-dose dams had marginally higher thyroid hormone levels. This is significant because thyroid hormones influence brain development during pregnancy, as well as a host of other biological functions, such as metabolism.

Researchers also found extremely rapid weight gain in the offspring. By the time they were weaned from nursing, high-dose male pups were 60 percent heavier than the control group -- and high-dose female pups were 31 percent heavier than the control group.

The increased weight in female pups contributed to the early onset of puberty. The control group hit puberty at 33 days old, while the high-dose group hit puberty at 29 days.

High-dose female pups also had difficulty regulating their glucose levels as adults. High-dose males had thickened walls in the left ventricle of the heart, suggestive of cardiovascular disease.

"This study indicates that Firemaster 550 is an endocrine disruptor, and that raises a lot of important questions," says Dr. Heather Patisaul, an assistant professor of biology at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the work. "This was a small-scale study. We need to continue this work with a larger sample size and look at a broader range of potential effects related to obesity, thyroid hormone function and metabolic syndrome. We also want to determine which of the component chemicals in Firemaster 550 are responsible for the various effects."

The paper, "Accumulation and Endocrine Disrupting Effects of the Flame Retardant Mixture Firemaster 550 in Rats: An Exploratory Assessment," is published online in the Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology. Co-authors include NC State undergraduate Natalie Mabrey; NC State research technician Katherine McCaffrey; Heather Stapleton and Simon Roberts of Duke University; Robin Gear and Scott Belcher of the University of Cincinnati; and Joe Braun of Brown University. The research was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Flame retardant 'Firemaster 550' is an endocrine disruptor, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024092954.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2012, October 24). Flame retardant 'Firemaster 550' is an endocrine disruptor, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024092954.htm
North Carolina State University. "Flame retardant 'Firemaster 550' is an endocrine disruptor, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024092954.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins