Monday, August 24, 2009

Fire Retardants in our Lives

Another problem with chemicals in our environment is PBDE's - polybrominated diphenyl ethers. It is in furniture, electronics, mattresses, pillows, carpet and padding, child car seats, cell phones, lighting and building material. Is that enough? This list is some of the most common.
But,this does not include children's fire retardant pajamas. They are treated with yet a different chemical. If there is little chance that your child will be around a fire it is best not to use these pajamas.
Exposure to small doses of PBDE's during the development stages of the unborn can cause damage to the reproductive system, cause problems with motor skills and learning, memory and hearing problems.
As children are smaller they are absorbing more than adults.
Foam in upholstery items is a big problem. Since 2004 the US made foam is safe because the chemicals are no longer made here and cannot be imported. If you have older products try to replace them but if that isn't possible cover any exposed foam but don't go to the expense to upholster old foam furniture. Use a vacuum with HEPA filter and a home HEPS air cleaner. Be careful when removing carpet and padding. Remove it from the house as quickly as possible and clean all the leftovers off the floor quickly.
When shopping for new items ask about fire retardant qualities. Don't buy ones with brominated fire retardants or natural brominated latex foam. They may contain substitute chemicals that have not been tested properly. Use less flammable fabrics as leather, wool or cotton if possible.
A form of PBDE in electronics is DECA. It is in TVs, cell phones, fax machines, remote controls, printers, copiers, scanners, kitchen appliances, fans, heaters, hair dryers, lamp sockets and on and on.
If children tend to put things in their mouths do not let them play with the cell phones or remotes. is the source of this information and they have a partial list of PBDE free electronics.

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