A recent report from the San Francisco Estuary Institute shows a drop in levels of PBDEs, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, utilized as flame retardants since the mid 1970s, in the shorebirds, mussels and fish in San Francisco Bay. The San Francisco Chronicle quotes SFEI and other researchers attribute this drop to California’s pioneering ban on two of the PBDEs in 2003.
EPHC’s earliest work in 2002 included facilitating workshops hosted by US EPA Region 9’s Pollution Prevention Program with the electronics and residential furniture industry, the earliest attempt to highlight the human health and environmental concerns around PBDEs and other flame retardant chemicals. In addition, EPHC worked with IPEN, the International POPS Elimination Network, to assemble data on PBDEs to support their addition to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. In 2004, EPHC co-authored a report with the Electronics Take Back Coalition highlighting the presence of PBDEs in dust on computers as a possible exposure route for these chemicals. It is with great pleasure and pride, therefore, that EPHC congratulates colleagues at Cal/EPA DTSC, SFEI, US EPA Region 9 and a multitude of others whose work on this issue locally, nationally and globally has made this progress possible.