Does flying present a threat of polybrominated diphenyl ether exposure?

J Occup Environ Med. 2010 Dec;52(12):1230-5. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181fe0a8b.


Objective: To investigate possible exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in US professional airline workers.

Methods: We recruited 30 healthy US professional airline workers who lived in the Dallas, Texas, area to test their blood PBDE levels. We examined the relationship between hours worked in an airplane and total PBDE blood levels.

Results: Total PBDE blood levels from the 30 volunteers were unremarkable despite minor elevations of certain congeners in a few volunteers. No statistically significant correlations were noted between hours in airplanes in the past 1 or 5 years and levels of individual brominated diphenyl ethers congeners or total PBDEs.

Conclusions: We hypothesized that elevated PBDE levels in commercial aviation workers could be found associated with time spent in airliners. Our findings do not support such an association.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aviation*
  • Female
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Texas


  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers