Flame Retardants

What are they?

Flame retardants are chemicals that are supposed to slow ignition and prevent fires. They are used to meet flammability regulations. Flame retardants of concern include organohalogen and organophosphate chemicals such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and chlorinated tris (TDCPP).

How are we exposed?

The most common way we are exposed to flame retardants in through indoor dust. They continually migrate out of products in our homes and combine with dust which we then ingest. They are also released from products into soil, rivers and oceans, causing widespread environmental contamination.

Where are flame retardants found?

In our homes they may be in upholstered furniture, carpeting, curtains and blinds, mattresses, baby products like car seats, cases that cover our electronics, and more.

Why should you be concerned?

Flame retardants can cause many health issue, including 

Cancer


Infertility
Hormone disruption

Birth Defects, Deecreased IQ, Hyperactivity

Nervous system damage

Tips for reducing your exposure

1

Vacuum and mop often…

Vacuum and wet mop often to reduce dust that contains flame retardant chemicals.

2

Wash your hands…

We wash our hands to kill viral germs, but it’s also important to wash them before preparing food to prevent contamination by flame retardants and other chemicals.

3

Check the label…

Check the label on your furniture at home or when buying new furniture and look for a check mark next to the statement “contains no added flame retardant chemicals. See the graphic below to learn more.

4

Use an air purifier…

Air purifiers, in combination with frequent cleaning, are effective at  removing dust, including flame retardant particles , from indoor air.

Look for this label on furniture with an X mark next to the statement “contains no added flame retardant chemicals.”

Look for products without foam that use natural materials like these.

Helpful Websites

Source flame retardant free products including baby products, personal care products, clothing, food, home and more.

Explore Environmental Working Groups Home Guide for information on on safe products for your home.

Learn more about what flame retardants are, where they can be found and much more.