Green Buckeye RN

OMB Watch: Momentum Builds For Legislation To Curb Use Of Toxic Flame Retardants
June 5, 2012, 9:42 am
Filed under: News

Posted on May 30, 2012

Lawmakers are calling for legislation to protect children from toxic flame retardant chemicals embedded in a host of everyday consumer products. The substances have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and other serious illnesses. Since these chemicals are widely used in furniture, clothes, and carpets, practically every home in the country could be affected.

Dangers of Flame Retardants   For over forty years, a class of synthetic chemicals, called flame retardants, has permeated the lives of all Americans. Flame retardants are used in everything from baby blankets and strollers, children’s clothes, electronics, furniture, carpets, vehicle and airplane parts, and many other products. While these chemicals are intended to reduce the flammability of products, they also slowly leak out into the air, dust, and water and eventually enter our food and bodies.

Studies have increasingly shown that these chemicals are harmful and can cause cancer, developmental problems, neurological deficits, and impaired fertility. A Duke University study, released just last week, linked early exposure to one flame retardant, called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), to low birth weight, lower IQs, and impaired motor and behavioral development. The study also revealed that toddlers from lower-income minority families had levels of PBDEs in their bodies nearly twice that of white toddlers. This may be because lower-income families often must rely on less expensive clothing and products, which are usually made of synthetic materials and may have higher treatments of flame retardants. An earlier study by the University of California-Berkeley found that high exposure to flame retardants in pregnant women can alter brain development in the fetus.

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