For decades, foam furniture, baby products and electronics have been loaded with needless flame retardants that migrate out of products and into our bodies. These chemicals have been linked to cancer and hormone disruption, as well as deficits in motor skills, attention and IQ in children. Though the most toxic ones have been phased out in the United States, they were replaced with poorly studied alternatives that also could harm health.
In 2017, the Consumer Products Safety Commission initiated a ban on the most toxic additives in foam products and electronics, and warned the public, particularly parents, to avoid buying new foam or electronic products that contain bromine- or chlorine-based flame retardants.
With all of the chemicals that get put into consumer products, it can be difficult to protect our children from toxic hazards. Knowing what to look for and what kids’ products contain harmful chemicals is the first step.
Do you know that your couch may be toxic to you and your kids? A weak federal chemical safety law and poorly designed state fire safety standards fail to protect Americans from thousands of dangerous chemicals like flame retardants.
California scored a big win for human health and the environment today (Sept. 30) when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to require labeling on upholstered furniture to tell shoppers whether it contains toxic flame retardant chemicals.Read More
It’s getting more likely that in the near future, when you go shopping for a couch or chair, it will no longer be saturated with pounds of toxic chemical fire retardants.Read More
Tests published earlier this month by myself and other scientists at the Environmental Working Group and Duke University detected a biomarker indicating that all 26 children in our study had been exposed to a fire retardant called TDCIPP, linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. Their level of exposure was nearly five times the average level found in their mothers. In the most extreme case, a child had 23 times the level of the mother.Read More
Scientists at the Environmental Working Group and Duke University have found evidence that the average level of a cancer-causing fire retardant chemical in the bodies of children tested was nearly five times the average in their mothers, according to a new study released today.Read More
Last summer I was taking my one-year-old daughter to the pediatrician when a sign in the lobby caught my eye: Want to participate in a study on flame retardants?Read More
Ten years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency and health advocates forced flame retardant chemicals called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, from the market. These chemicals were showing up in people’s bodies and persisting in the environment, and research suggested they disrupted hormone signaling and brain and nervous system development.Read More
The study of foam from 20 old and new crib mattresses found that mattresses release up to 30 different types of volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs, among them, phenol, a strong skin and respiratory irritant. The study detected other chemicals, including linalool and limonene, known fragrance allergens that can cause skin allergies. Repeated exposure over time increases the chances of an allergic reaction.Read More
The chemical company Chemtura sued the state of California yesterday seeking to block new fire safety regulations that would permit furniture production without toxic flame retardants.Read More
Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to revise regulations that led manufacturers to add large amounts of toxic fire retardants to foam furniture sold in California “is a public health victory for all Americans,” Environmental Working Group Research Director Renee Sharp said today.Read More
A landmark study led by Courtney Carignan of the Dartmouth Center for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research has found that the blood of 11 female collegiate gymnasts ages 18 to 22 contained a potentially hazardous flame retardant known as PentaBDE in average concentrations 4 to 6.5 times higher than average for Americans.The research team attributed the gymnasts’ extraordinary levels of PentaBDE to constant exposure to gym pads made of polyurethane foam treated with fire retardants. Foam padding and furniture have been routinely infused with toxic fire retardants in large part because of outdated fire safety standards that have encouraged manufacturers to rely on chemicals instead of non-chemical ways to make foam products less flammable.Read More
Today (Nov. 13) in Seattle, HBO will screen a disturbing new documentary, The Toxic Hot Seat, that highlights the growing risk to firefighters – and the general public – of fire retardant chemicals that have long been added to furniture and other consumer products as a result of deceptive chemical industry lobbying.Read More
EWG and the Keep A Breast Foundation today released a guide to educate consumers about some of the most problematic hormone-altering chemicals that people are routinely exposed to. EWG parntered with KAB to develop the Dirty Dozen list of endocrine disruptors to highlight the prevalence of these toxic chemicals, how they affect our health and simple ways to avoid them.Read More
Earlier this year a disturbing study showed that the brominated fire retardant TBBPA, which is widely used in consumer products, triggers cancer in lab animals. Now a new study suggests that the chemical may do so by interfering with the hormone system and may stimulate estrogen activity in much the same way as the toxic flame retardant it replaced.Read More
March is Women’s History Month, when the nation honors the many women who have had a lasting impact on American culture, history and women’s rights.Read More
California Governor Jerry Brown today proposed to end the widespread use of highly toxic fire retardant chemicals in foam furniture sold in the state.Read More