-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. researchers who
recently found high levels of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)
flame retardants in butter say it is the worst documented case of
food contamination with PBDE in the country.
It's also the first time that this type of food contamination is
believed to be the result of PBDEs in a food's packaging.
The researchers found that one in 10 samples of butter bought at
five Dallas grocery stores had PBDE levels more than 135 times
higher than the average of the other nine samples. Levels of
deca-BDE -- a PBDE compound widely used in electronics, textiles,
cable insulation, and car and aircraft components -- were more than
900 times higher in the contaminated samples than in the other nine
Studies in rodents have linked deca-BDE with thyroid hormone
changes and neurobehavioral changes.
As the researchers continued their investigation, they found
that PBDE levels in the butter's paper wrapper were more than 16
times higher than levels found in the butter. It's not clear
whether the paper was contaminated before or after it reached the
butter packaging plant, and the actual source of contamination is
The study is published online Dec. 7 and in an upcoming print
issue of the journal
Environmental Health Perspectives.
The findings highlight the need for a U.S. regulatory program
that tests food for persistent organic pollutants such as PBDEs,
said lead author Arnold Schecter of the University of Texas School
of Public Health and colleagues in a news release from the
The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has
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