No PBDEs

Burngard Contains No PBDEs
Never has, never will

WHAT ARE PBDEs?

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, are a group of chemicals that are used as flame retardants in a variety of polymer resins and plastics. They are found in many products in most homes and businesses, including furniture, TVs, stereos, computers, carpets, and curtains. PBDEs are also used, to a lesser degree, in some textiles, adhesives, sealants and coatings.

WHAT IS SO BAD ABOUT PBDEs?

PBDEs are ubiquitous, global environmental pollutants that are present in all parts of the environment, and can be found in samples taken virtually anywhere. They are harmful to the environment, build up in living organisms, and last a long time in the environment.

ARE PBDEs TOXIC?

The preliminary finding of the screening assessment is that PBDEs are toxic to the environment, according to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

WHAT EFFECTS DO PBDEs HAVE ON THE ENVIRONMENT?

PBDEs have been detected in all parts of the environment (air, water and land). While overall concentrations of PBDEs in the environment are low, current levels may threaten some wildlife and invertebrates. There is also some concern because of the rapid increases in the levels of PBDEs detected in the environment since the early 1990s. Recent studies using rodents provide evidence that exposure to PBDEs during critical growth periods may lead to behavioural disturbances, and liver effects. They can also interfere with the normal production of some thyroid hormones.

ARE PBDEs HARMFUL TO HUMAN HEALTH?

Scientific assessment has found no evidence that current levels of PBDEs in the environment are harming human health at the moment. However, the rapid increase in PBDE levels in the environment over the last several years is cause for concern. Health effects have been observed in laboratory animals, but only at levels much greater than those to which people are currently exposed. Studies in other countries have shown that it is possible to reverse the increase in PBDEs in the environment by reducing their use.

WHY AREN’T PBDEs CONSIDERED TOXIC TO HUMAN HEALTH IF THEY ARE IN HUMAN BREAST MILK AND BLOOD?

The presence of low levels of PBDEs in human breast milk and blood simply indicates that people are being exposed to these compounds, which are persistent in the environment. Such chemicals may also accumulate in fatty tissues and fluids such as human breast milk due to their physical-chemical properties. However, it does not automatically follow that PBDEs are causing harmful effects in humans. Human exposure in the developed world is much lower than levels associated with effects in experimental animals, even based on the worst-case estimates of exposure in the screening health assessment.

HOW DO RELEASES OF PBDEs OCCUR?

Releases of PBDEs to the environment can occur during manufacturing and processing operations, throughout the service life of articles containing PBDEs, and when articles that contain PBDEs are disposed of.

ARE THERE SEVERAL DIFFERENT TYPES OF PBDEs?

Yes. The screening assessment conducted by Health Canada and Environment Canada looked at seven of the most common PBDEs. They are all similar in chemical structure, but each has a slightly different chemical composition. The seven PBDEs are: tetrabromodiphenyl ether; pentabromodiphenyl ether; hexabromodiphenyl ether; heptabromodiphenyl ether; octabromodiphenyl ether; nonabromodiphenyl ether; and decabromodiphenyl ether. These chemicals are found in different combinations in three commercial products generally referred to as commercial penta–, octa–, and deca–brominated diphenyl ethers.

WHAT KIND OF ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS ON PBDEs?

The commercial mixtures PentaBDE and OctaBDE are being banned by the European Union (in effect August 2004), California (2006), Hawaii (2008), Washington (2006) and Maine (2006). Maine has also proposed a ban on DecaBDE for 2008. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has reached a voluntary agreement with the major manufacturer of PeBDE and OBDE to cease production by the end of 2004. The findings of the screening assessment are generally consistent with assessments or regulatory decisions in other jurisdictions and the recommendations may actually go further in some respects.

— text courtesy of Environment Canada

 

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