Identification of the flame retardants polybrominated diphenyl ethers in adipose tissue from patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in Sweden

Oncol Rep. Sep-Oct 1997;4(5):999-1000. doi: 10.3892/or.4.5.999.


We have recently reported increased concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls and chlordane compounds in adipose tissue from patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) compared with surgical controls. As a feasibility project we have now studied the occurrence of polybrominated diphenyls ethers (PBDE) in the same study population. Four samples of adipose tissue were selected at random from the case and control series. We were able to identify PBDEs in all samples. PBDEs are environmental contaminants and the levels are increasing in sediment and biological samples. Our results indicate that human beings are also exposed, mainly through the food chain, resulting in ng/g concentrations of PBDEs in the adipose tissue. This has not been previously reported from Sweden. Any health consequences are so far not studied. The environmental situation for PBDEs is thus similar to that of PCBs a few decades ago.