Toxicology and human health assessment of decabromodiphenyl ether

Crit Rev Toxicol. 2009 Nov:39 Suppl 3:1-44. doi: 10.1080/10408440902837967.


We evaluated the available pharmacokinetic data and human and animal toxicity data for 2,2',3,3',4,4',5,5',6,6'-decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209) (CASRN 1163-19-5) with the objective of deriving a reference dose (RfD) based on the best available science. The available studies for deriving an RfD were first screened using the Klimisch criteria and further evaluated using the United States Environmental Protection Agency's general assessment factors for data quality and relevance (i.e., soundness, applicability and utility, clarity and completeness, uncertainty and variability, and evaluation and review). The chronic 2-year dietary feeding study conducted by the United States National Toxicology Program ( NTP, 1986 , Technical Report Series No. 309) was selected for RfD derivation. Hepatocellular degeneration in male rats was chosen as the critical endpoint in the development of an RfD. For dose-response characterization, we applied benchmark-dose modeling to animal data and determined a point of departure (the 95% lower confidence limit for a 10% increase in hepatocellular degeneration) of 419 mg/kg-day for oral exposures. Based on the similar pharmacokinetic characteristics of BDE-209 across species, this value was converted to a human equivalence dose of 113 mg/kg-day by applying a dosimetric adjustment factor based on body weight scaling to the (3/4) power. An oral RfD of 4 mg/kg-day was calculated by using a composite uncertainty factor of 30, which consisted of 10 for intraspecies uncertainty, 3 for interspecies uncertainty (i.e., 3 for toxicodynamics x 1 for toxicokinetics), and 1 for deficiencies with the database. We consider the RfD to be adequately protective of sensitive subpopulations, including women, their fetuses, children, and people with hepatocellular diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benchmarking
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Flame Retardants / pharmacokinetics
  • Flame Retardants / standards*
  • Flame Retardants / toxicity*
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / pharmacokinetics
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / standards*
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / toxicity*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Reference Standards
  • Risk Assessment
  • United States
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency


  • Flame Retardants
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers
  • decabromobiphenyl ether