Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a class of brominated flame retardants that are increasingly an environmental concern. Several antibodies were developed for the polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardant BDE-47 (1), often found in the highest concentration in human milk, plasma, and adipose tissue. Four haptens with different bromine and linker substitution patterns were synthesized and utilized to generate five polyclonal antibodies from goats and two polyclonal antibodies from rabbits. Competition was assessed using four different coating antigens for all seven antibodies. The coating antigen showed marked effects on competition. When the same hapten was used for antibody and the coating antigen less competition was observed. The effect of BDE structure on competition was evaluated by using BDE-47 (1), BDE-99 (2), BDE-100 (3), BDE-153 (4), and BDE-183 (5). None of the compounds showed high competition with antibody I-KLH, presumably because steric hindrance prevented formation of an efficient binding site. As predicted from structural considerations, BDE-47 (1) competed well with the remaining antibodies, whereas BDE-100 (3) competed well with only II-KLH. The remaining congeners (BDE-99 (2), BDE-153 (4), and BDE-183 (5)) contain bromines that cannot be positioned in binding sites and thus cross-react poorly. The competition study demonstrated that a bromine substitution on the congener could occupy a position analogous to the linker's position.