Frequently Asked Questions about Flame Retardants in Furniture
- ANSES Report
- Visit the Green Science Policy Institute webpage
- Toddlers: Flame retardant chemicals cross the placenta and babies are born with the chemicals in their bodies. Babies and toddlers are further exposed from their mother’s milk and household dust, which they ingest at higher levels due to their hand-to-mouth behavior. Young children have been found to have three times the levels of retardant chemicals in their bodies compared to their mothers [reference]. Firefighters: When pentaBDE, Firemaster 550 and other related retardant chemicals burn, they produce high levels of dioxins and furans, compounds that are known to cause cancer. Firefighters have elevated rates of cancers that are associated with exposure to dioxins/ furans [reference]. Lower income household: the average lifetime of upholstered furniture is 30 years and lower income households have older furniture containing flame retardants which are banned today, such as pentaBDE. Thus those with lower income, and especially children, have increasingly high levels of this toxic retardant chemical in their bodies compared to those in higher income households [reference]
- For example, median concentrations of the OPFR TCIPP in all UK microenvironments exceeded those reported elsewhere in the world. Moreover, concentrations of TCIPP and TDCIPP in 2 UK car dust samples were – at 370 μg g−1 and 740 μg g−1 respectively – amongst the highest reported globally in indoor dust to date. Consistent with this, concentrations of TDCIPP in dust from UK cars exceed significantly those detected in the other microenvironments studied [reference]
- Find a non exhaustive list of scientific references on flame retardant and health here. Additional recent scientific studies here
- Find a non exhaustive list of scientific references on flame retardant and environment here. Additional recent scientific studies here
“Common OP flame-retardants (TDCPP and TCPP) have been detected in wild birds, various fish species, and herring gull eggs in the Great Lakes region”. Read EHHI report on flame retardant
- Check the petition against flame retardants promoted in USA.
- Read the PHD fire safety expert Mr. Babrauskas’ response here.
- For a scientific analysis of toxicity of flame retardants check the following papers: a) Flame retardants in UK furniture increase smoke toxicity more than they reduce fire growth rate b) “The fire toxicity of polyurethane foams” c) “Fire Toxicity Assessment: Comparison of Asphyxiant Yields from Laboratory and Large Scale Flaming Fires” d) “Toxic potency measurements for fire hazard analysis“
- ANSES Report
- Environmental and health screening profiles of phosphorous flame retardants – The Danish Environmental Protection Agency
- Check the European Commission report here [page 311].
The Alliance for Flame Retardant Free Furniture in Europe consists of stakeholders ranging from environmental and health NGOs to industry, cancer organisations, fire fighters and labour unions.
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