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NAFRA Questions Significance of New Study on Flame Retardants and Estrogen


Contact: Bryan Goodman (202) 249-6510
Email: bryan_goodman@americanchemistry.com

WASHINGTON (August 22, 2013)The North American Flame Retardant Alliance (NAFRA) issued the following statement in response to an announcement by the National Institute of Health (NIH) about a new study, partially funded by the NIH, which suggests that flame retardants, like tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), can bind with estrogen-related enzymes:

“NAFRA supports developing scientifically sound methods to better understand how chemical exposures might impact the endocrine system. However, the crystallographic methodology used in this study, while perhaps offering insight into how binding with estrogen-related enzymes might occur under laboratory modeled conditions, provides no direct evidence that a chemical will interact with a component of the endocrine system and produce an adverse effect. The study also provides no evidence that TBBPA, which is known to be quickly metabolized and eliminated by humans, actually comes in contact with the relevant enzymes in the human body. It is unclear why the authors chose to use this approach, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has spent many years validating other tests for estrogenic activity as part of a congressionally mandated program for screening substances for potential hormonal activity.”

“The two compounds included in the study are not representative of all brominated flame retardants, a term used by the authors throughout the paper. In fact, flame retardants include a diverse group of substances with a wide range of physical, chemical, and biological properties.”

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