Flame-retardant chemicals 'could affect behaviour' in young children

26 April 2017

Widely used flame-retardant chemicals found in furniture, carpets, electronics and mattresses among other things could be affecting the development of young children, US academics have suggested.

Researchers from Oregon State University found children who had higher exposure rates of organophosphatebased flame retardants (OFPRs) were more aggressive and defiant and displayed more hyperactivity, inattention and bullying behaviours.

And those children with higher exposure to brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs) were seen as less assertive by their teachers.

Past research has shown that both BDEs and OPFRs are linked to poorer cognitive function in children. All children were found to have been exposed to some level of the chemicals.

The research team recruited 92 Oregon children aged between three and five to wear a silicone wristband for seven days, which could then be screened for chemical exposure.

Parental questionnaires and pre-school teachers’ behaviour assessments were also taken, with complete data gathered for 69 children.

Molly Kile, author of the study, which was published in the journal Environmental Health, said: ‘This type of public health science is needed to figure out how to address the root causes of behavioural concerns that can affect children’s school readiness and overall wellbeing.’

● Read the research at