New York Times and Retro Report: A Flame Retardant That Came With Its Own Threat to Health


This New York Times article, featuring a video by Retro Report, concisely recounts the flame retardant saga.

If you closely examine your living room couch, your favorite easy chair or your child’s car seat, the odds are strong that you will find upholstery that is filled with polyurethane foam treated with a chemical flame retardant. Some may find that comforting: Isn’t it desirable to hold an accidental fire at bay, one caused by, say, a burning cigarette or faulty electrical wiring? But studies show that many flame-resistant chemicals loom as potential health menaces, associated with cancers, lower I.Q.s and impaired motor skills in children, to name a few woes. Isn’t it just as desirable, some would also say, to keep such substances out of people’s lives?

Clyde Haberman

  • Watch full video produced by Jill Rosenbaum on Retro Report: Safety on Fire