Polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDE’s are a commonly used flame retardant in household items such as carpets, clothes, foam furnishings, electronics and plastics. 97 percent of people in the U.S. have PBDE’s in their blood—at levels 20 times greater than that of people in Europe. But despite their prevalence, there have not been studies done to examine their health impact, until now. A new study to be published June 21 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives is the second study this year linking PBDE’s to human health effects. In this study, they found associations between PBDE’s and altered thyroid function in pregnant women.