- Southern Sierran as Firefighters Back Ban on Flame Retardants, July 2008, page 2
- Orange Coast Voice as Toxic Flame Retardants: Ubiquitious but toxic BFRs are everywhere, even the Artic, April 2008, page 11
Firefighters Back Banning Controversial Flame Retardant
Sarah S. Mosko, Ph.D.
Your TV, mattress, couch and computer could be sources of man-made toxic chemicals building up in human tissues, including breast milk. Sounds crazy, but it’s not.
Many consumer products are imbued with a class of flame retardants considered by many to be bad news since they accumulate in fatty tissues, resist breakdown in the environment, and disrupt normal development in lab animals. They are called polybrominated diphenyl ethers or just brominated flame retardants (BFRs).
Introduced in the 1970’s, BFRs have become commonplace in upholstery foam, textiles and electronics because synthetic materials, like petroleum-based plastics, are generally more flammable. BFRs impede the spread of fire bycreating a layer of bromine gas around a heated product, keeping oxygen at bay. They comprise up to 30% of an item’s weight and migrate out over time into air, dust, and soil. Read the rest of this entry »