Backfire: Unintended Consequences of Flame Retardants

Combustion scientist, Donald Lucas, started his career doing research at temperatures near absolute zero (−430°F) before working in combustion, where temperatures can exceed 4,500°F. As he says, you can get “burned” by both the very cold and the very hot.

Dr. Lucas received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from UC Berkeley, and is a retired scientist in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His principal areas of research are combustion generated air pollutants, experimental chemical kinetics, and combustion chemistry. I’ll resist the urge to call him “The Boy Who Played with Fire.”…

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CBS5 ConsumerWatch: Chemical-free couch foam now available

22 Apr 2014

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Couch owners who want to limit their exposure to flame retardant chemicals now have a new option. The Safer Sofa Foam Exchange is a new program that helps consumers replace the old foam in their sofa and chair cushions with new foam that is chemical free.…

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PBS NewsHour: Calif. law change sparks debate over use of flame retardants in furniture

1 Jan 2014

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Flame retardants are commonplace in most upholstered furniture to help prevent house fires. But studies have linked the chemicals to cancer and fertility problems, prompting California to change the state’s furniture flammability standards.…

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Double jeopardy: firefighters face physical and chemical threats

Running into burning buildings puts firefighters in immediate and obvious danger.  The long-term effects of chemical exposures were less obvious until now. In an op-ed in The Hill, Doctor of Public Health and toxicologist Susan Shaw shares the findings of a study analyzing chemicals in the blood of firefighters.  The study “provides the first clear evidence that firefighters accumulate high levels of brominated flame retardants, and their combustion by-products – brominated dioxins and furans – while firefighting”. In an ironic…

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