A new study has found flame retardant chemicals in 100 percent of the mothers and children tested.
Flame retardant, chlorinated tris, came under the microscope in the 1970’s. It was voluntarily taken out of children’s pajamas after researchers discovered it mutated DNA.
Furniture manufacturers, which use flame retardants to resist a smoldering cigarette, promised that flame retardants would not escape furniture and show up in people.
But a study by Duke University and the nonprofit Environmental Working Group found that all 48 people tested, 22 moms and 26 children, had a chemical in their urine that breaks down from chlorinated tris, a flame retardant used in baby products and upholstered furniture. Researchers say it shows how difficult it is for even the most diligent parents to avoid toxic chemicals found in furniture, toys and other household products.
Researchers found the average child had five times the levels of the chlorinated tris byproduct than their mothers, most likely because they ingest contaminated dust when they play on the floor.
The study also found that a quarter of the moms and 70 percent of the children had signs of the flame retardant Firemaster 550.
The World Health Organization, National Cancer Institute, National Research Council and Consumer Product Safety Commission have identified chlorinated tris as a carcinogen. In 2006, safety commission researchers warned that adding chlorinated tris to upholstered furniture could expose children under two to a cancer risk seven times higher than acceptable levels.
A 2012 Chicago Tribune investigation revealed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency endorsed Firemaster 550 even though the agency’s own scientists were deeply skeptical of its safety. Manufacturer studies found that exposing rats to the flame retardant can lower birth weight, alter female genitalia and cause skeletal malformations such as fused ribs and vertebrae.