Background: House dust is a major source of exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which are found at high levels in U.S. homes.
Methods: We studied 167 acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cases 0–7 years of age and 214 birth certificate controls matched on date of birth, sex, and race/ethnicity from the Northern California Childhood Leukemia Study. In 2001–2007, we sampled carpets in the room where the child spent the most time while awake; we used a high-volume small-surface sampler or we took dust from the home vacuum. We measured concentrations of 14 PBDE congeners including penta (28, 47, 99, 100, 153, 154), octa (183, 196, 197, 203), and decaBDEs (206–209). Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated using logistic regression, adjusting for demographics, income, year of dust collection, and sampling method.
Results: BDE-47, BDE-99, and BDE-209 were found at the highest concentrations (medians, 1,173, 1,579, and 938 ng/g, respectively). Comparing the highest to lowest quartile, we found no association with ALL for summed pentaBDEs (OR = 0.7; 95% CI: 0.4, 1.3), octaBDEs (OR = 1.3; 95% CI: 0.7, 2.3), or decaBDEs (OR = 1.0; 95% CI: 0.6, 1.8). Comparing homes in the highest concentration (nanograms per gram) tertile to those with no detections, we observed significantly increased ALL risk for BDE-196 (OR = 2.1; 95% CI: 1.1, 3.8), BDE-203 (OR = 2.0; 95% CI: 1.1, 3.6), BDE-206 (OR = 2.1; 95% CI: 1.1, 3.9), and BDE-207 (OR = 2.0; 95% CI: 1.03, 3.8).
Conclusion: We found no association with ALL for common PBDEs, but we observed positive associations for specific octa and nonaBDEs. Additional studies with repeated sampling and biological measures would be informative.
Citation: Ward MH, Colt JS, Deziel NC, Whitehead TP, Reynolds P, Gunier RB, Nishioka M, Dahl GV, Rappaport SM, Buffler PA, Metayer C. 2014. Residential levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia in California. Environ Health Perspect 122:1110–1116; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1307602