Liar Liar Pants on Fire: Chicago Tribune Article Exposes Deception Behind Flame Retardants

Photo: flame retardants Chicago Tribune

Our government and industry are failing to protect us from toxic chemicals. Toxic chemicals found in toys, jewelry, pillows, and countless products we use daily, these unregulated products are making their way into our bodies and our environment.

The Chicago Tribune recently published an article exposing the lies and deception used by Big Tobacco and the chemical industry to promote their financial interests while loading American furniture and electronics with brominated flame retardants, toxic chemicals used allegedly to prevent fires, but which are linked to cancer, developmental problems, lowered fertility, and neurological deficits.
 
The chemical industry has used false testimony and front groups to stir up demand for their flame retardants. Cigarette manufacturers, rather than create fire-safe cigarettes which were seen as not appealing to smokers, have promoted flame retardant furniture using their deceptive National Association of State Fire Marshals.
Flame retardant manufacturers have used flawed and unsound research to try to show that their products are beneficial, and have downplayed the associated health risks. Regulators have continuously allowed these toxic flame retardants to enter the market without thoroughly assessing the health risks. Now these toxic chemicals are in our bodies and in the environment, from polar bears in the Arctic to the air in our Upper Peninsula.
 
We can’t be left alone to defend ourselves from industries without our best interest in mind. But the EPA, under the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act, has very little power to ban chemicals. Which is why Michigan has taken action to set our own standards of safety. 
 
Over the years, Michigan has taken steps to protect us and our children from flame retardants and other toxic chemicals. In 2010, the House overwhelmingly passed a ban on the toxic flame retardant Deca-BDE. It did not pass the Senate, but the ban is being reviewed in the House again this year. Last year the Safe Children’s Product Act  was introduced, requiring children toy manufacturers to disclose the chemicals in their products to give parents the right-to-know about the chemicals in their products. Senate Bill 867, introduced in December, would restrict the use of lindane, a pharmaceutical pesticide and neurotoxin used to treat lice and scabies.
 
We need these bills passed at the state level in order to show our U.S. Senators that just as the states are taking our own precautions, the U.S Senate needs to vote on and pass the Safe Chemicals Act.
 
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Read this article to learn how to avoid brominated flame retardants.