Human exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) through the diet: An update of the scientific literature

Food Chem Toxicol. 2022 Sep;167:113322. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2022.113322. Epub 2022 Jul 22.


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of brominated flame-retardants (BFRs). As for other persistent organic pollutants, dietary intake (followed by dust inhalation) is the main route of human exposure to PBDEs. In 2012, we reviewed the scientific literature on the concentrations of PBDEs in foodstuffs and their dietary exposure. The current review is aimed at updating the results of recent studies (2012-2022) focused on determining the levels of PBDEs in food samples, as well as the dietary intake of these compounds. We have revised studies conducted over the world. The current information on the concentrations of PBDEs in food and their dietary intake is now much more notable than that available in our previous review, being China the country contributing with the highest number of studies. Because of the important differences in materials and methods used in the available studies, the comparison of results is certainly complicated. However, there seems to be a general trend towards a decrease in the levels of PBDEs in foods, and consequently, in the dietary intake of these contaminants. The lack of tolerable daily intakes of PBDEs is an issue that needs to be solved for assessing human health risks of these BFRs.

Keywords: Congeners; Dietary exposure; Food; Human health risks; Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet
  • Dietary Exposure / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants* / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants* / toxicity
  • Flame Retardants* / analysis
  • Flame Retardants* / toxicity
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / analysis
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / toxicity
  • Humans


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Flame Retardants
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers