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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Half-life of polybrominated biphenyl in human sera.

Polybrominated biphenyl (PBB), a flame-retardant material, was introduced into the food chain in Michigan in 1973 due to a manufacturing and distribution mistake. Following public concern about the long-term health effects of PBB in humans, a cohort of PBB-exposed Michigan residents was assembled in 1975. We initiated this study to determine the half-life of PBB in human sera and to understand how continued body burden relates to the possible adverse health consequences of PBB exposure. To determine the half-life, eligible persons were selected from the cohort if they had at least two PBB measurements 1 year apart and had an initial level > or = 20 pbb. There were 163 persons who met the criteria with a median PBB level of 45.5 ppb. The estimated half-life is 10.8 years (95% CI, 9.2-14.7 years). The body burden of PBB in exposed persons will decrease only gradually over time. For persons with an initial level of 45.5 ppb of PBB, it will take more than 60 years for their PBB levels to fall below the current level of detection of 1 ppb.[1]


  1. Half-life of polybrominated biphenyl in human sera. Rosen, D.H., Flanders, W.D., Friede, A., Humphrey, H.E., Sinks, T.H. Environ. Health Perspect. (1995) [Pubmed]
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