Retrospective time-trend study of polybrominated diphenyl ether and polybrominated and polychlorinated biphenyl levels in human serum from the United States

Environ Health Perspect. 2004 May;112(6):654-8. doi: 10.1289/ehp.112-1241957.


Six polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), one hexabromobiphenyl [polybrominated biphenyl (PBB)], and one hexachlorobiphenyl [polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)] were measured in 40 human serum pools collected in the southeastern United States during 1985 through 2002 and in Seattle, Washington, for 1999 through 2002. The concentrations of most of the PBDEs, which are commercially used as flame retardants in common household and commercial applications, had significant positive correlations with time of sample collection, showing that the concentrations of these compounds are increasing in serum collected in the United States. In contrast, PCB and PBB levels were negatively correlated with sample collection year, indicating that the levels of these compounds have been decreasing since their phaseout in the 1970s.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Environmental Pollutants / history
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls / blood*
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls / history
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / blood*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / history
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls