Knowledge and attitudes regarding exposure to brominated flame retardants: a survey of Croatian health care providers

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2020 Mar;27(7):7683-7692. doi: 10.1007/s11356-019-07496-7. Epub 2019 Dec 30.


The exposure of pregnant and lactating women and their children to environmental contaminants such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) is a subject of international concern, but the perception of these contaminants by health providers has not been extensively investigated. The aim of this study was to assess Croatian health care providers' knowledge of exposure to BFRs and their attitudes towards the responsibility to inform the public about the possible negative effects on human health. A cross-sectional survey was conducted from December 2017 to November 2018 with a sample of 400 health care providers. The instrument was a questionnaire consisting of sociodemographic questions, a BFR knowledge test and a BFR attitude assessment. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were performed with the STATISTICA 13 software. The results of our study indicate that health providers' knowledge of BFR exposure is lacking, as evidenced by the high frequency of incorrect responses, irrespective of the field of medicine or profession. Neither age nor interest in the topic was significantly correlated with the correctness of answers. Participants expressed a moderate interest in the topic, regardless of the profession or field of medicine. Therefore, we suggest including additional information for health providers about the health effects of BFRs in continuing education programmes organized by Croatian medical associations, nurse associations and other professional bodies as well as in existing high school and university education programmes for health professionals.

Keywords: Attitudes; Brominated flame retardants; Environmental chemicals; Environmental health; Health care providers; Knowledge.

MeSH terms

  • Croatia
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Flame Retardants / toxicity*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Flame Retardants