A new Canadian study on the topic entitled, “Human Excretion of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether Flame Retardants: Blood, Urine, and Sweat Study,” reveals that induced sweating helps the body remove the man-made group of flame retardant chemicals known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).
While PBDEs have been banned in a number of jurisdictions, including the European Union, they are still relatively unregulated in the United States. According to the new paper, these are the primary ways in which we are exposed to them:
- Indoor Air and Dust.
- Diet (particularly from meat)
- Breast Milk and Fetal Exposure
The study also identified three well known mechanisms of harm:
- Hormone dysregulation (e.g. thyroid disorders)
- Cellular disruption (e.g. DNA damage)
- Neurotoxicity (e.g. associated with plaque formation in the brain)
The study design was as follows:
“Nine males and 11 females with mean ages 44.5 ± 14.4 years and 45.6 ± 10.3 years, respectively, were recruited to participate in the study. Each participant provided informed consent and voluntarily gave one 200 mL sample of blood, one sample of first morning urine, and one 100 mL sample of sweat.”
They focused on investigating the elimination of five common PBDE congeners (28, 47, 99, 100, and 153) in three body fluids: blood, urine, and perspiration.
The results of the study were reported as follows:
“PBDE congeners were not found in urine samples; findings focus on blood and perspiration. 80% of participants tested positive in one or more body fluids for PBDE 28, 100% for PBDE 47, 95% for PBDE 99, and 90% for PBDE 100 and PBDE 153. Induced perspiration facilitated excretion of the five congeners, with different rates of excretion for different congeners.”
It is noteworthy that urine samples came up clean. This indicates that blood and sweat are far more accurate biomarkers for PBDE exposure.
The researchers concluded:
“[G]iven the relative absence of studies exploring PBDE elimination or clinical detoxification in humans, as well as the scientific consensus about the negative impact of PBDEs on human health, this study provides important baseline evidence suggesting that regular sessions of induced perspiration may facilitate the therapeutic elimination of PBDEs.”
This study adds further support to the indispensable health value of sweating in modern life. While the most obvious way to sweat via intense exertion isn’t always convenient or available, given disabilities or lifestyle commitments that preclude it, you could use a sauna, or infrared blanket to copiously induce perspiration. Also, there are diaphoretic (sweat inducing) herbs such as ginger that carry an excellent safety profile, and have other side benefits. Ginger won’t induce sweating alone but will work wonderfully in combination with exercise.