In my last blog, I wrote about mattresses and the fact that most have a flame retardant added by code. Shortly after I posted the information, I received my latest copy of The Human Ecologist, a “newsletter” that is published quarterly by the Human Ecology Action League. This always informative quarterly missive contains articles about how chemicals can affect us, and cites research to back up their reporting. If the Fall 2013 issue, Louise Kosta writes about flame retardants, and I encourage you to sign up for their newsletter and read more on the topic if you care to do so. You won’t be disappointed, as there is so much additional information you’ll glean from each issue.
To sum up the jist of the article, flame retardants were added to many products to help stop small fires, and to help slow large fires. Such products include electronics, building materials, furniture insulation, and textiles. Due to the long “life” of the chemicals involved in slowing or stopping fires, these chemicals have become part of the chemical makeup of our bodies as well, through ingestion, inhalation, and touch. Not possible? When you consider that polar bears, frogs, birds, panthers, and many other animals are now testing positive for hazardous man-made chemicals, and they aren’t even around these chemicals on a daily basis, it should come as no surprise that we, too, are affected, and probably even more so.
The flame retardants are known to be toxic to the nervous system, and also disruptive to your endocrine system. All ages are affected by these chemicals, but infants and children are especially vulnerable, as their nervous systems are still developing and exposures can affect them more dramatically.
How do we get these chemicals in us? We ingest them from house dust. We lie in them on the bed, the sofa, the rug, the chair, and the car. They show up in mother’s milk and in newborns. Infants also pick up chemicals from car seats, strollers and crib mattresses. Be sure to check out our organic crib mattress that is chemical free.
As I mentioned in the first blog, awareness is the first step. Action is the second step. If you need a new sofa, mattress, chair, car, car seat, rug, etc, I strongly recommend you consider finding items that do not contain flame retardants. They are out there, and in increasing numbers, as people are waking up to the dangers of chemical pollution. Also, if you are already chemically sensitive, you would benefit from making as many healthy changes as you can as soon as you can!