The Heated Debate About the Use of Flame Retardants
by Theresa Sirois, Social Media Marketing Manager
In the 1970's and 80's, California legislation pushed American manufacturers to start adding chemicals, initially to curtains and couches, to theoretically assist in halting the spread of the house fires. Today we see the use of chemical flame retardants in everything from furniture to paint, carpets to car bumpers, and even in clothing.
There are questions as to a link between these chemicals and clear health issues, including but not limited to varying forms of cancer, amongst the American population (the only population that uses these chemicals). In addition to the health risks of these chemicals, many are found to astonishingly NOT be successful in suppressing combustibility.*
The theory, of course, is not that you would somehow be fireproof by wearing pajamas containing these retardants - but that by delaying the flash-over, it gives you more time to escape in the event of a house fire.
What scientists have discovered, however, is that the off-gassing from our chemical-soaked couch cushions, mattresses, and clothing, can actually kill us faster than the fire itself.* Regardless, many still question whether it is safe for organizations like the EPA and Safer Chemicals to be finding alternatives and/or completely removing these "life saving" chemicals from our homes. Are the natural alternatives going to "protect" us in the event of a house fire?
Carolyn Robare, Community Coordinator for Naturepedic and an expert in government policy on toxic chemicals, says;
"Fire retardants are only necessary on materials which have a high tendency to burst into flames. Products made with natural materials such as organic cotton or wool tend to smolder instead of creating an instant and very hot fire. The government has issued regulatory standards that each qualifying product must pass before being put on the market. When designed properly, chemicals are not found to be necessary to produce safe products for children and these products pass all of the federal testing requirements without any fire retardants."
So while the debate may continue, legislative changes are happening here in the US to decrease the number of toxins, including flame retardants, that we are exposed to every day. A great resource is the hit HBO documentary Toxic Hot Seat, which begs these same questions: "do they [chemical flame retardants] work as promised? Or are they just making us sick?"
Here at The Clean Bedroom, we recommend you #sleephealthy on a non-chemical laden surface and enjoy the natural luxury of an organic mattress and bedding. We want you and your family to have a restful, blissful, and safe night sleep every night. No questions asked.
* from the National Resources Defense Council