"INTERFLAME aims to enhance scientific understanding of how and to what extent organic flame retardant (FR) chemicals present in consumer goods and materials contaminate the environment, with particular reference to humans and wildlife. INTERFLAME’s twin foci are exposure arising from indoor contamination and monitoring the efficacy of recent actions designed to reduce environmental levels. Recent research has shown that the application of FRs within consumer goods and materials has led to contamination of indoor environments with consequences for human exposure. Moreover, the hydrophobicity and environmental persistence of many FRs means that following release to outdoors, there is significant potential for a second wave of human and wildlife exposure via incorporation and bioaccumulation into the food chain. Due to concerns about the adverse effects of some FRs, various jurisdictions worldwide have introduced bans and restrictions on the manufacture and new use of such chemicals. INTERFLAME addresses the global need to monitor temporal trends in environmental contamination in response to such restrictions, and its international harmonisation of studies and exchange of knowledge is a necessary response to the substantial global variations in FR usage patterns and legislation. Its synergistic relationship with the EU-funded Marie Curie ITN INFLAME will permit comparison and contrast of exposure scenarios for FRs that prevail in Europe with those elsewhere. This will facilitate prediction of future scenarios around the globe; for example where use of a given class of FRs has yet to begin in one region, that region can learn from the experience of those where the same FRs are deployed already. In summary, INTERFLAME’s collaborative and dynamic transfer of information and expertise through staff exchanges will better inform efforts to monitor and understand the origins of exposure to such chemicals, leading to more effective strategies to minimise such exposure."
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