Fire Retardant Could Cause Cancer

New research shows that TBBPA may cause cancer by interfering with workers' hormones and stimulating estrogen activity

In a new study regarding brominated fire retardant TBBPA, scientists have determined that the chemical may cause cancer. According to an article from Environmental Working Group’s blog, the new study has shown that TBBPA may cause cancer because the chemical interferes with hormone activity and stimulates estrogen activity.

The new developments are based on a study from earlier in the year that showed that TBBPA caused cancer in lab animals. Though there is proof that it causes cancer in animals, scientists are still not certain that it can cause cancer in humans. However, in the latest study, scientists evaluated how TBBPA works on an atomic level and saw that it attached to the enzyme “estrogen sulfotransferase (EST),” which is an enzyme that regulates humans’ estrogen levels. This interaction can cause abnormal EST activity, which has been known to be associated with uterine cancer.

TBBPA, which is used in several consumer products, was initially released on the market to replace PDBE, a type of fire retardant that was phased out of the market due to evidence linking it to unusual hormone activity in the body. The new study suggests that TBBPA causes the same type of interference as PDBE, and the article on Environmental Working Group’s blog suggests manufacturers “may have simply swapped out one toxic chemical for another that has the same biological effect.”

Production of TBBPA has not ceased, in fact, it has continued to get greater. The chemical is the most heavily produced brominated fire retardant in the world. Manufacturers produced 200,000 tons of it annually.

For more information, visit: http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2013/09/new-research-explores-how-widely-used-fire-retardant-could-trigger-cancer

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    September 2020

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