Facts on Flame Retardants
Shown to be unnecessary and toxic, flame retardants expose families and firefighters to cancer causing chemicals.
Flame retardant chemicals are used in upholstered furniture such as couches and children's nap mats, crib mattresses and other products. These chemicals migrate from household furnishings and children's products into house dust and ultimately into our bodies. Most of us have flame retardants in our bodies with higher levels detected in children. Studies have linked these chemicals to cancer and adverse impacts on reproduction, learning and development. Human studies on flame retardants have demonstrated harm to children’s I.Q. and neurodevelopment.
In addition to routine exposure in the home, families and fire fighters are put at additional risk during fires. Flame retardants generate excessive, toxic smoke exposing families and fire fighters to a harmful chemical soup during fires and provide no additional fire protection. The rate of many cancers are much higher among fire fighters than the general public and occupational exposure to cancer causing chemicals has increased job related cancer deaths among fire fighters.
California's flammability standard, which led to companies adding flame retardants to products sold across the U.S., can now be met without the use of chemical flame retardants. Many, but not all, furniture manufacturers and retailers have moved away from the use of these toxic chemicals. Since California's new flammability standard does not prohibit flame retardants, it is difficult for consumers to know if a product contains flame retardants.