10 Shocking Facts about Flame Retardants

Thanks to California law TB 117 from 1975, the comfy recliner you like to crash into at the end of the day better resembles a toxic dump. TB 117 required the foam in sofas, loveseats, recliners, car seats, electronics, and insulation be treated with several pounds of flame retardants, which investigative reports suggest do not even work!

The Dangers of Flame Retardants

These chemicals are recognized globally as toxic contaminants associated with reproductive disorders, cancer, immune dysfunction, hormone disruption, suppressed thyroid function, and serious damage to fetal and child brain development. Here are 11 facts you need to know to protect you and your loved ones from these dangerous, pervasive toxins.

1. Your Dust Bunnies Are Toxic

According to Duke University associate professor of environmental chemistry Heather Stapleton, “If you really look at what's in your dust, particularly for some chemicals, it's just as concentrated — or more — as what you'd find in sewage sludge.” [1] What she and many other researchers discovered is flame retardants like PBDEs and chlorinated tris escape from the foam and accumulate in dust. Dust bunnies, by their nature, collect greater amounts of these chemicals. The more of these guys around, the greater your toxic exposure.

2. The 2006 Ban on PBDEs Did Not Make Furniture Safe

Although PBDEs were supposedly banned in 2006, the chemical chosen to replace them is equally as dangerous. Chemical manufacturers reverted to using chlorinated tris (or TDCPP), a chemical banned from use in children's pajamas in 1977 for its role in DNA mutations and cancer. Even the newer chemical known as V6 contains tris. Research shows chlorinated tris is more toxic than the pesticide chlorpyrifos, a known neurotoxin. [2] Tris remains as dangerous today as in 1977.

3. Baby Products Are Loaded with Flame Retardants

Tests on baby car seats, baby changing pads, and other foam baby products consistently reveal the presence of flame retardants. [3] Tris and a new chemical known as V6 (found to contain tris) on average make up 4.6% of the mass of the foam in baby products. [4] The best way to protect our little ones is to use and expose them to as few foam products as possible.

4. Children Have Higher Levels in Their Blood

Tests of children revealed three times higher levels of fire retardants than those found in their mothers. The reason for this is believed to be the fact that children play on the floor where dust and carpeting collect these fire retardants. This may explain the ever-increasing number of children suffering from hormonal and metabolic imbalances.

5. Flame Retardants Easily Cross the Placenta

Pregnant women need to be especially aware of exposure to flame retardants. Research has shown that PBDEs have no problems crossing the placenta, transferring its harmful effects from mother to fetus. PBDEs have been found in fetal blood samples in numerous tests with women chronically exposed to products that have been treated with flame retardants. [5] Observations of children with higher levels of PBDEs in their …read more

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