Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gymnasts face high exposure to flame retardants

Date:
November 13, 2013
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
Competitive gymnasts have a higher exposure to potentially harmful flame-retardants than the general population, likely because such contaminants are present in foam used in gym equipment.

Researchers suggested that the risks of ingesting flame-retardants, through dust and contact, could be reduced by hand-washing after practice and before eating.
Credit: DragonImages / Fotolia

Competitive gymnasts have a higher exposure to potentially harmful flame-retardants than the general population, likely because such contaminants are present in foam used in gym equipment, a study led by Boston University School of Public Health researchers has found.

The study, published online in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, found that the average concentration of a flame-retardant known as PentaBDE in gymnasts' blood sera was 4 to 6.5 times higher than in general U.S. population groups. Median concentrations of PentaBDE and related contaminants in hand-wipe samples from the gymnasts were 2 to 3 times higher after their practice, compared to before, indicating that the gymnasts contacted the flame-retardants during practice. Concentrations of the flame-retardants were much higher in gym air and dust than in comparison residences where they are used in foam-containing furniture. Flame-retardants escape from polyurethane foam over time and accumulate in the air and dust of indoor environments.

"Despite the U.S. phase-out of PentaBDE production nearly a decade ago, large amounts are still in use," the research team said. Further, replacement flame-retardants are being used in newly manufactured foam pit cubes and landing mats, "suggesting the potential for increasing exposure to these compounds, as older gym equipment is replaced. Additional research is needed to confirm these findings and improve our understanding of gymnast exposures."

The researchers suggested that the risks of ingesting flame-retardants, through dust and contact, could be reduced by hand-washing after practice and before eating.

While the study did not examine health effects, previous research has suggested that PentaBDE may affect brain development in children and fertility in women, although results are preliminary and warrant further study. Almost all Americans have detectable levels of PentaBDE in their bodies, due to both exposure in the indoor environment and diet.

PentaBDE congeners are endocrine disruptors that have been associated with changes in thyroid hormones in several epidemiologic studies. Due to concerns about its persistence and toxicity, PentaBDE was banned in the European Union in 2004 and phased-out of production in the U.S in 2005, although foam products containing it are still in use.

Restrictions on the use of PentaBDEs have resulted in the increased use of other flame-retardants, such as tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP) and Firemaster 550.

The research team recruited 11 collegiate female gymnasts, ages 18−22, from one gym and collected hand-wipe and blood samples from them after a gymnastics practice, which lasted about 2 hours. They also measured concentrations of bromine in the foam of landing mats, pit cubes and other materials. They collected samples of dust and foam from a second gym.

PentaBDE was the dominant flame-retardant in dust collected from all locations in both gyms. Most of the pit cubes, in use for years, contained PentaBDE. Local fire codes may require gyms to use flame-retardant foam.

The researchers said personal exposure to PentaBDE and other flame-retardants may vary between gymnasts, depending on the contaminants present and personal factors, such as training duration and activities, hand-washing and bathing frequency, diet and exposure to sources in other environments. They noted that the study findings were not generalizable to all gymnasts, many who may train less frequently.

The team said future research on gymnasts should include a larger sample size and seek to identify the primary exposure pathways, to inform recommendations for reducing exposure.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Courtney C Carignan, Wendy Heiger-Bernays, Michael D. McClean, Simon Roberts, Heather M Stapleton, Andreas Sjodin, Thomas F Webster. Flame Retardant Exposure among Collegiate U.S. Gymnasts. Environmental Science & Technology, 2013; 131106120122000 DOI: 10.1021/es4037868

Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "Gymnasts face high exposure to flame retardants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113130027.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2013, November 13). Gymnasts face high exposure to flame retardants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113130027.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "Gymnasts face high exposure to flame retardants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131113130027.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
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