What’s the Problem with Flame Retardants?

What's the Problem with Flame Retardants?

Flame retardants, applied to the foam inside 80% of upholstered furniture in the United States, may not save lives. In fact, during a fire they will burn in seconds and give off the toxic gases that are the major cause of fire deaths.  They are used due to a California standard called Technical Bulletin 117, which was enacted in 1975. Most furniture manufactures across the U.S produce all their furniture to meet the California standards. As a result, where ever you live, you, and your children, are likely being exposed to flame retardants, which migrate continuously out of the foam and other products in your own home.

Flame retardant have been linked with:

  • Decreased birth weight
  • Reduced IQ
  • Learning disorders
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Reduced fertility
  • Undescended testicles
  • Lowered levels of male sperm and male hormones
  • Thyroid disruption
  • Memory loss
  • Cancer

Tomorrow we’ll talk about who is most at risk.

Arlene Blum

Arlene Blum PhD, biophysical chemist, author, and mountaineer is a Visiting Scholar in Chemistry UC Berkeley and also executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of DrGreene.com. The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or DrGreene.com, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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