Flame retardants do not make us safer and are chemically linked to PCBs. They migrate out of furniture and mingle with dust and get consumed--especially by babies who play on the floor. They are linked to diabetes, reduced IQ.
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Are You Safe on That Sofa? - NYTimes.com
It turns out that our furniture first became full of flame retardants because of the tobacco industry, according to internal cigarette company documents examined by The Tribune. A generation ago, tobacco companies were facing growing pressure to produce fire-safe cigarettes, because so many house fires started with smoldering cigarettes. So tobacco companies mounted a surreptitious campaign for flame retardant furniture, rather than safe cigarettes, as the best way to reduce house fires.
The documents show that cigarette lobbyists secretly organized the National Association of State Fire Marshals and then guided its agenda so that it pushed for flame retardants in furniture. The fire marshals seem to have been well intentioned, but utterly manipulated.
An advocacy group called Citizens for Fire Safety later pushed for laws requiring fire retardants in furniture. It describes itself as “a coalition of fire professionals, educators, community activists, burn centers, doctors, fire departments and industry leaders.”
But Citizens for Fire Safety has only three members, which also happen to be the three major companies that manufacture flame retardants: Albemarle Corporation, ICL Industrial Products and Chemtura Corporation.
Citizens for Fire Safety paid a prominent Seattle physician, Dr. David Heimbach, who testified in some states in favor of flame retardants. Dr. Heimbach, the former president of the American Burn Association, told lawmakers stories of children who had burned to death on cushioning that lacked flame retardants.