Brominated flame retardants and seafood safety: a review

Environ Int. 2015 Apr;77:116-31. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2015.01.001. Epub 2015 Feb 18.


Brominated flame retardants (BFRs), frequently applied to industrial and household products to make them less flammable, are highly persistent in the environment and cause multi-organ toxicity in human and wildlife. Based on the review of BFRs presence in seafood published from 2004 to 2014, it is clear that such pollutants are not ideally controlled as the surveys are too restricted, legislation inexistent for some classes, the analytical methodologies diversified, and several factors as food processing and eating habits are generally overlooked. Indeed, while a seafood rich diet presents plenty of nutritional benefits, it can also represent a potential source of these environmental contaminants. Since recent studies have shown that dietary intake constitutes a main route of human exposure to BFRs, it is of major importance to review and enhance these features, since seafood constitutes a chief pathway for human exposure and biomagnification of priority environmental contaminants. In particular, more objective studies focused on the variability factors behind contamination levels, and subsequent human exposure, are necessary to support the necessity for more restricted legislation worldwide.

Keywords: Brominated flame retardants; Contaminants; Food safety; Polybrominated diphenyl ethers; Seafood.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Environmental Pollution / analysis*
  • Environmental Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Flame Retardants / toxicity*
  • Food Contamination*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Brominated / analysis
  • Hydrocarbons, Brominated / toxicity*
  • Seafood / analysis*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Flame Retardants
  • Hydrocarbons, Brominated