Foam Replacement Environmental Exposure Study (FREES)

Study of flame retardant exposures in San Francisco Bay Area adults and the potential effect of removing foam-containing furniture from their homes

Red couch

The Foam Replacement Environmental Exposure Study (FREES) is a collaboration with the University of California, Davis (Dr. Deborah Bennett, Principal Investigator), Environmental Working Group, Green Science Policy Institute, and Silent Spring Institute.  The purpose of the study is to assess potential changes in participants’ flame retardant exposure after removal or replacement of foam-containing furniture in the living area of the home. 

Biomonitoring California is measuring levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and organophosphate flame retardants in serum or urine samples collected at regular intervals over the two-year study period.  The initial samples are collected prior to foam removal to serve as a baseline measure of exposure. 

Companion studies are being conducted to measure levels of PBDEs and organophosphate flame retardants in hand wipes from the same participants and in their house dust samples collected before and after foam removal.  Results from this sampling will help us examine sources and routes of exposure to flame retardants, including the role of hand-to-mouth transfer.  Additional analyses of foam samples will provide data on flame retardant formulations in current use and the accuracy of furniture labels. 

Biomonitoring California's participation in this project is supported in part by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Cooperative Agreement #5U88EH001148-02).

Project Type: 

Full project collaboration

Project Status: 

Ongoing

Participants: 

28 adults

Sample Collection Date: 

2016 to 2018

Sample Collection Area: 

San Francisco Bay Area