It is difficult to avoid flame retardants because they are in our most of our furniture, many of our electronics and in baby products containing foam.
We need to change the outdated regulations that promote the use of these unnecessary toxic and untested fire retardant chemicals. Until these regulations are changed here are some things you can do:
- Avoid products that contain polyurethane foam, since foam is most commonly treated with flame retardant chemicals. Products that have a label stating the product meets the California furniture flammability standard, called Technical Bulletin 117 (TB117), are almost always treated with chemicals. But flame retardants are also found in many products that do not have a TB 117 label.
- Opt for products made of polyester, wool, cotton, or down as these materials are unlikely to contain added flame retardants.
- Wash your hands and children’s hands frequently, especially before eating. Since flame retardants can be ingested through hand to mouth activities, frequent hand washing can help prevent exposures. Be sure to wash your hands after handling dryer lint since the lint can contain concentrated amounts of chemicals that migrate out of the products.
- Vacuum using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and use a wet mop to reduce dust that may contain toxic chemicals
- Select electronic products that are free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants. See CEH’s Electronics Shopping Guide.
- Try to use a minimum of carpeting and draperies in your home as these can be treated with flame retardants.
- Some baby product makers have reported that they do not use halogenated flame retardants These companies include:
- Baby Luxe Organic: Polyester-filled and cotton-covered pads and mattresses
- Baby Bjorn: Polyester-filled and cotton-covered baby carriers
- Orbit Baby: Strollers and car seats with Expanded Polypropylene foam that meets TB 117 without halogenated chemicals
- Boppy: Nursing pillows filled with polyester and no added flame retardant chemicals
- Take Action: Let furniture manufacturers know that you want furniture without toxic flame retardant chemicals. Let these businesses know we can’t wait another year for safer products.