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Introducing Our Blog Series “Scientist Spotlight: The Scientists Behind our Consumer Products Petition”

July 30, 2015

Imagine you are reclining on your couch and turning on a horror movie. Did you know that the flame retardants in your couch may be scarier than the monster on the screen?

The dangers of these chemicals led a coalition of medical, firefighter, consumer, and science groups to submit a petition to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) asking for a ban on four categories of household products that contain any halogenated flame retardants. The petition targets children’s products, mattresses, furniture, and electronics casings.

Halogenated flame retardants contain at least one halogen atom, bromine or chlorine, bonded to a carbon atom. Such molecules aren’t naturally found in mammals so our bodies don’t know what to do with them. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, lower IQ, reduced fertility, birth defects, and hormone changes. Additionally, the way they have been used in these four kinds of products does not provide a relevant real-world fire safety benefit.

Thirteen scientists have submitted statements in support of our petition, explaining what their research has revealed about halogenated flame retardants and why they believe these toxic substances should be regulated as a class instead of one by one. Each month, we will share with you insights from one of these scientists.

Read our first blog in this series here.