Exposure to widely used flame retardant chemicals known as PBDEs can increase the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome, but a high-performance air purifier such as the IQAir HealthPro Plus is the best way to reduce exposure, according to foodconsumer.org.
PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, are used in household products such as carpet, upholstered furniture and even baby clothing. The chemical becomes airborne in house dust. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are flame-retardant chemicals that have been banned since the 1970s, still persist in the environment in foods including farm-raised fish and fish from polluted lakes and rivers.
“It is impossible to absolutely avoid exposure to this class of pollutants because the law requires the flame retardants to be used in household products to prevent fire,” writes foodconsumer.org reporter Jimmy Downs in an article that appeared Dec. 2, 2012.
“The best way to avoid exposure is to reduce house dust using an air cleaning system or air purifier such as (the) IQAir HealthPro Plus, which can catch particles as small as 0.001 microns,” the article notes.
Studies have shown that airborne dust contaminated with PBDEs is especially a concern for children because they inhale more of the harmful dust relative to their body weight. Korean researchers who analyzed data from the U.S. found high levels of exposure to PBDEs could double the chances of developing diabetes mellitus type 2.
Many PBDE flame retardant chemicals have been banned in Europe for years but some are still used in the United States, foodconsumer.org notes.