Ah, brominated flame retardants, the chemicals that not only coat kids’ pajamas but also your TV, your couch cushions and mattress—even your baby’s bouncy seat. They’re probably the hardest household pollutant to keep away from babies and toddlers, who have been shown to have the highest levels accumulated in their little bodies from both ingesting household dust and from breastfeeding. In response to California’s attempt to allow consumers to buy healthy furniture free of these nasty chemicals, the bromine and flame retardant industry put up an astroturfing website, which features kids advocating fire safety.
“Many fire retardant chemicals are now considered global contaminants,” says the Consumer Federation of California, which is sponsoring the Consumer Choice Fire Safety Act. “Studies on environmental health have associated the use of these toxins with adverse health effects in both humans and animals, including hormone disruption, reproductive toxicity, cancer, and fetal and child development. Yet many scientists argue that an equivalent level of fire safety can be achieved without using these harmful chemicals.” What do you think about this bill? Did you know that these chemicals are so widespread in household goods?