Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why are flame retardants required in furniture, anyway?

Florence Williams asks the question on her Slate blog.
The European Union had recently banned two of the major commercial formulas of brominated flame retardants, called penta- and octa-BDEs. Produced in large quantities in the United States to meet furniture and other fire codes, they were poured into products—and quickly migrated into dust, air, soil, waterways, effluent, and food. Because flame retardants don't break down easily, they remain for years in the tissues of birds, aquatic organisms and mammals, including us, albeit in small quantities. An endocrine disruptor and neurotoxin, the retardants are linked to thyroid disorders and reproductive problems in animals and humans. blockquote>

Bev & Mike
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