They're in your car. They’re in your couch, your office chair, your TV, your curtains, your carpet, your laptop, your mobile phone and your mattress
Whats the problem with flame retardants?
The problem is, they don’t stay put. They leach out of products and they get into us. They're in dust and soil and the wastewater sludge that's spread on farm fields. The chemicals are in fish and meat and dairy. They’ve been found in the Arctic and Antarctic. They're in peregrine falcons and killer whales and polar bears and salmon. They're in cats and dogs. Babies come into the world with flame retardant chemicals in their bodies. The chemicals have also been turning up in breast milk
“Instead of adding new fire retardant chemicals that ultimately may be shown to cause health problems, we should be asking whether we need to use these chemicals or if there are other ways to achieve equivalent fire safety,” contends Arlene Blum, a biophysical chemist and visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. “So many of the chemicals we have banned in the past were flame retardants—think about asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated biphenyls, tris(2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate, PBDEs—[and] they all ended up in the environment and in people,” she points out. “We need to think carefully about adding these sorts of chemicals to consumer products before there is adequate health information.”
In the European Union (EU) the use of certain Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) is banned or restricted; however, due to their persistence in the environment there are still concerns about the risks these chemicals pose to public health. BFR-treated products, whether in use or waste, ‘leach’ BFRs into the environment and contaminate the air, soil and water. These contaminants may then enter the food chain where they mainly occur in food of animal origin, such as fish, meat, milk and derived products.
Where to from here?
Though the use of the known toxic BFRs are now banned in the EU and hence in Ireland, what have taken their place? more less well known BFRs maybe? i dont know but im sure that there is no flame retardant that is not somewhat toxic to the human body. There is nanotechnology that may improve this area in teh future but until then beware of chemicals in you furniture and bed ans everyday items that you use, and be proactive about reducing your exposure to flame retardants.