More on Flame Retardants

You may ask, “Why another article on flame retardants?” The answer is simple:

1)      They are in everyone’s home and office and vehicles;

2)      They damage your health;

3)      Powerful interests hinder and prevent legislation designed to eliminate them.

Let’s start with a few more facts. Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic flame-retardant chemicals are found everywhere, from animals north of the artic circle to the breast milk of California women (and probably all US women). They persist in the environment and in our bodies, where they are only very slowly eliminated. Body burdens of PBDEs (one class of flame retardant) are ten times higher in U.S. people than in Europeans because PBDEs were long ago banned in Europe, whereas the California law TB 117 requires flame retardants in most flammable products. (Manufacturers follow TB 117 for products sold throughout the U.S.)

Currently there is active legislation in the state of Washington to keep flame retardants (and other toxic chemicals) out of children’s things; it is called the Toxic-Free Kids Act, sponsored by Senator Sharon Nelson. There is concerted opposition to it. The organizations opposing it are:

  • The American Chemistry Council
  • The Toy Industry Association
  • Citizens for Fire Safety (a front organization)
  • Personal Care Products Council
  • Grocery Manufacturers of America
  • Washington Retail Association
  • Association of Washington Businesses

(This list is from the Washington Toxics Coalition, Feb. 2012.)

Similar, and broader, legislation is active at the national level. U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg has authored the Safe Chemicals Act of 2012, which recently passed out of committee and onto the Senate floor. Let you senators know how you feel about this issue.

Note. I will be on vacation until August 12.


About donlouis

The author has long had a keen interest in staying healthy and fit, and in doing whatever I can to keep the natural environment unpolluted and a healthy space for people and all animals. As a former Board Member of a municipal water district, I regularly had to deal with the issue of water quality. I first became aware of radiation hazards from toxic materials while working on uranium for nuclear reactors. During the 1960s I was tuned into the global hazard from Strontium 90 raining down from atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs. While working in the chemical industry in later years I became aware of the many forms of chemical contaminants entering the environment every day, and resolved to do something about it. I am able to make sense out of the voluminous descriptions of common toxic chemical because of my training in chemistry, with a Ph.D. degree and several decades of research and development work in the chemical industry. My training and experience enables me to present to readers reliable and current information on the topic of chemical hazards in the environment, and their threats to human health. All my life I have loved hiking and camping in nature. Skiing, river kayaking, and tennis have been my favorite physical activities. Nature photography is my artistic passion.
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