In this morning's Greenspace column, I wrote about a recent Duke University study that analyzed flame retardants in children's products that contain foam. Researcher Heather Stapleton checked foam samples from 101 products and found flame retardants in 80 of them.
The problem is that many have ill effects. They may be carcinogenic or disrupt endocrine systems.
But the idea is to keep children safer. In the event of a fire, would flame retardants save lives or lessen the extent of injury? Not even that is certain, one of the researchers said.
Industry says the flame retardants are safe and necessary.
I received comment from the Consumer Product Safety Commission too late to include it in the column, so here it is: "CPSC has contributed to the effort to reduce consumer exposure to flame retardant chemicals. Through the federal safety rule we implemented to reduce the flammability of mattresses and the safety rule we proposed to reduce the flammability of upholstered furniture, CPSC is coming up with solutions that reduce the risk of fire without the use of FR additives. CPSC scientists have taken a leadership position in studying many of these chemicals and determined that TDCP may pose a significant health risk to consumers. Dr. Stapleton's screening report advances our knowledge into the use of some of these chemicals, but additional research looking into consumer exposure and the impact of chemical alternatives is needed."