You can probably find flame-retardant chemicals all over your house, within your couch, your carpet, your mattresses and even your children’s car seats. And though fire retardants can be helpful, they are actually quite toxic and can cause harm to your family’s health.
Flame retardants have been linked to cancer, hormone deficiencies, and neurological and developmental problems, and children are extremely vulnerable to their harmful effects.
A study published by the Environmental Science & Technology revealed that 80% of 100 randomly tested children’s products were covered in these harmful chemicals.
Between 2009 and 2013, the chemical industry agreed to remove polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), a harmful flame retardant, from various products – but a study conducted by scientists at the Environmental Working Group and Duke University revealed that many manufacturers have simply replaced PBDEs with similar chemicals that are just as toxic.
As much as we want to protect our families, these toxic chemicals are still widely found in our furniture and in our children’s products that families use and come into contact with every day.
It’s clear that these harmful chemicals don’t belong in our homes, so what can you do to minimize your family’s exposure to them?
As a parent, you know that your children need a lot of stuff as they grow up, and while second-hand items are great for meeting those needs, it may be best to purchase newer items for their safety.
Many products made before 2005 are notorious for containing fire retardants, so try looking for and purchasing products that were made after 2014. Manufacturers have recently been allowed to create products free of fire retardants, and due to a higher demand, you should have better access to these safer products.
Many product labels will indicate if an item like furniture or upholstery contains fire-retardant chemicals. Check your products around the house, and if anything has the TB 117 notice on its label, it contains fire retardants. When buying new products, consider purchasing items that contain less flammable materials such as leather, wool and cotton to avoid further exposure to toxic chemicals.
Even as you shop for new and safer products, your home will most likely still contain harmful fire-retardant chemicals. Because of this, it’s important to keep your home clean in order to reduce your family’s exposure to toxic chemicals.
If your vacuum has a HEPA filter, you’ll be able to remove a significant amount of tiny dirt and dust particles that contain fire retardants. Also, make sure to clean surfaces around the house with a microfiber cloth to help remove dust and dirt. Last, remember to wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially before eating, so you don’t inadvertently ingest harmful chemicals you may have come into contact with.
What are your thoughts on fire-retardant chemicals? Please feel free to share in the comments section below.
Healthy Child Healthy World: Fire Retardants in Children’s Products
EWG: Healthy Home Tips – Avoid fire retardants
Mommy Greenest: 3 Steps to Avoid Flame Retardants
I like to buy second hand clothes for my kids, and I worry about these chemicals in the pajamas, especially. That’s where I see it the most! But I had no idea they were in the toys also! Now I’m gonna have a whole new thing to add to my list to purge…
Several of my friends buy second hand cloths for their grandchildren. This is good information & the low price is not worth the exposure to my loved ones.
Until reading this I had no idea. Thank you for this post.
thanks for your feedback, glad you like it!
Everytime I read about fire retardants I want to dust my whole house from top to bottom! Thank goodness for Norwex Dust Mitts! I have really made an effort to only buy my children organic cotton pajamas from costco to help eliminate some of these chemicals from their lives.
With everyone trying to save money these days, it’s something you don’t think about when shopping at 2nd hand stores or garage sales.
Does anyone know of a chemical free mattress with no foams that off-gas?? I am looking for my self and my grandkids. I have severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and I am afraid of possibly becoming allergic to the new organic mattress made with Latex.
I am not currently allergic to latex but I’m very afraid of purchasing an organic mattress?
If any one can help calm my fears please let me know what you can.
It is astonishing that 80% of the children’s products tests contained flame retardants. It seems very unnecessary considering the detrimental effects it can cause. I am happy to hear that more options are becoming available that do not contain those harmful chemicals.
Sad these chemicals are in our mattresses since we spend so much of our day in them!
I always look for pj’s without flame retardant in them. Pretty easy to find now.
I wish we weren’t so drenched in chemicals!! It gets depressing to think about sometimes! 🙁