“Flame retardants are everywhere”
Plastics in turn, are a leading end use for flame retardants. They’re found in penguins and in mothers, breast milk and children across the United States; in household dust, ordinary supermarket food and in virtually every geographic location scientists have searched worldwide. These are the flame retardants known as PBDEs that have been used in plastics and textiles since the 1970s. Found to be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, these compounds are released from the products in which they’re used and make their way into the surrounding environment, into the food web – and into us. Despite well-identified hazards, these chemicals are still in use at high volume. The solution? Truly safer alternatives, including improved product design that eliminates the needs for hazardous additives.