Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) exposure in children: Possible associations with cardiovascular and psychological functions

Brooks B. Gump, Sehun Yun, Kurunthachalam Kannan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) have been used widely in consumer products and are currently found at detectable levels in the blood of humans and animals across the globe. In stark contrast to this widespread exposure to PBDEs, there is relatively little research on potential adverse health effects of exposure of children to these chemicals. Objectives: We performed this cross-sectional study to determine if blood PBDE levels (for 4 congeners) are associated with cardiovascular stress responses and psychological states in children. Methods: Levels of 4 PBDE congeners (BDE-28, -47, -99, and -100) in whole blood were measured in children (N=43). These levels were analyzed in relation to cardiovascular disease risk factors, including cardiovascular responses to acute stress and relevant psychological variables, namely, hostility and depression. Results: Higher levels of blood PBDEs were associated with significantly greater sympathetic activation during acute psychological stress and greater anger, as evidenced by significant associations with 3 different measures of this psychological variable. Conclusions: This study suggests an association between PBDE exposure and children[U+05F3]s cardiovascular responses to stress as well as parental and self-reported anger in the child. These variables are particularly important as they may be of potential relevance to the future development of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Although intriguing, there is a need for further investigation and replication with a larger sample of children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-250
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Children
  • Hostility
  • PBDE
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ether
  • Stress
  • Sympathetic reactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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