Temporal trends of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the blood of newborns from New York State during 1997 through 2011: analysis of dried blood spots from the newborn screening program

Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Jul 16;47(14):8015-21. doi: 10.1021/es401857v. Epub 2013 Jun 26.


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are ubiquitous environmental pollutants, and on a global basis, North American populations are exposed to the highest doses of PBDEs. In response to the exponential increase in human exposure to PBDEs during the late 1990s, some PBDE formulations were phased out from production in the early 2000s. The effectiveness of the phase-out of commercial penta-BDE and octa-BDE mixtures in 2004 in the U.S. on human exposure levels is not known. Dried blood spots (DBSs), collected for the newborn screening program (NSP) in the U.S., are a valuable resource for the elucidation of trends in exposure to environmental pollutants in newborns. In this study, seven PBDE congeners were determined by gas chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (GC-HRMS) in archived DBS samples (in total, 51 blood spot composites from 1224 newborns) collected from newborns in New York State (NYS) from 1997 to 2011. The most frequently detected PBDE congener was BDE-47, with a detection rate (DR) of 86%, followed by BDE-99 (DR: 45%) and BDE-100 (DR: 43%). The mean concentrations determined during 1997 through 2011 in the whole blood of newborns were 0.128, 0.040, and 0.012 ng/mL for BDE-47, -99, and -100, respectively. A significant correlation was found among the concentrations of three major congeners (p < 0.001). PBDE concentrations were similar during 1997 through 2002 and, thereafter, decreased significantly, which was similar to the trends observed for perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in DBS samples. Occurrence of PBDEs in the whole blood of newborns confirms that these compounds do cross the placental barrier.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / blood*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Screening*
  • New York


  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers