-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Flame retardants used in a
wide range of consumer products pose a threat to human health and
may not even be all that effective, according to a statement signed
by nearly 150 scientists from 22 countries.
Brominated and chlorinated flame retardants (BFRs and CFRs) are
used in products such as televisions, computers, cell phones,
upholstered furniture, mattresses, carpet pads, textiles, airplanes
These chemicals are accumulating in the environment and in
humans, and some of them may harm unborn children, affect people's
hormones, and may even play a role in causing cancer, according to
the San Antonio Statement, named for the Texas city that hosted the
30th International Symposium of Halogenated Persistent Organic
Pollutants (POPs) last month.
The statement said that "BFRs and CFRs can increase fire
toxicity and their overall benefit in improving fire safety has not
been proven." It also states that these fire retardants "can
increase the release of carbon monoxide, toxic gases and soot,
which are the cause of most fire deaths and injuries."
The statement called on manufacturers to provide more
information about the toxicity testing of these flame retardants
and for governments to respond to the health and environmental
threats posed by BFRs and CFRs.
The statement and an accompanying editorial were released online
Oct. 28 ahead of print in the journal
Environmental Health Perspectives.
"No one wants to decrease fire safety, but the [persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic] properties of BFRs and CFRs should trigger the development of safer alternatives," suggests the editorial.
"Just as we have known for years that significant exposure to lead occurred via house dust, why has it taken us so long to understand that BFRs and CFRs, which are used in consumer products, can also escape . . . into house, office, car and airplane dust, and will also end up in people, as well as the environment and wildlife? Why do we not learn from the past?"
The Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment
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