Steve Ritter’s article on the human cost of chemical exposure drew attention to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) as endocrine disruptors (C&EN, Oct. 24, page 5). His article cited that annual PBDE exposure accounts for 43,000 cases of “intellectual disability,” with an associated disease burden of some $266 billion.
As an analytical chemist, I focused on the ultratrace quantitative determination of PBDEs in human serum. Interested readers may find innovative ways to measure low parts-per-trillion concentration levels. Please refer to two of my papers published in the Journal of Chromatographic Science (2008, DOI: 10.1093/chromsci/46.1.53; 2009, DOI: 10.1093/chromsci/47.8.656). The earlier paper used reversed-phase solid-phase extraction techniques to isolate and recover PBDEs from human serum while the more recent paper used stir-bar sorptive extraction techniques. There are theoretically 208 BDE congeners in addition to decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE).
Paul R. Loconto
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