Flame Retardant May Pose Health Risks

Dangers of Chemicals in Many Furniture Products




Obesity, anxiety and developmental and reproductive problems have all been linked to small quantities of a flame retardant frequently used in furniture and baby products, according to a recent, limited study on rats by researchers at Duke University. Baby rats with mothers that ingested small amounts of the chemical Firemaster 550 gained more weight than those that weren’t exposed, and exposed female offspring displayed more anxiety, reached puberty earlier and exhibited abnormal reproductive cycles.

Study co-author Heather Stapleton, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental chemistry at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, is a leading expert on flame retardants, particularly children’s exposure to the toxic chemicals they can release. She specifically notes that the new research assessed exposure to doses far lower than those of earlier studies. “This raises red flags about a widely used chemical that we know little about,” advises Stapleton. “What we do know is that it’s common in house dust, and people, especially kids, are being exposed to it.”

“Firemaster 550 was put on the market with almost no study,” says Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which funded the new research. She says the preliminary findings strongly suggest the need for more studies.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

People that Don’t Slight Sleep Eat Better

People that sleep more than seven hours a night are likely to eat less sugar, fat and carbohydrates the following day, British researchers report.

New Guidelines Lower the Bar for Risky Blood Pressure

With new guidelines that define high blood pressure as being 130/80 instead of 140/90, nearly half of U.S. adults are considered at risk.

Young Women Outdo Male Peers in Oxygen Uptake

In an important fitness marker, young women were found by Canadian researchers to process oxygen about 30 percent faster and more efficiently than men their age when they began exercising.

Gut Bacteria Imbalance Linked to Chronic Fatigue

In a Columbia University study, people with chronic fatigue syndrome were found to have an imbalance in the levels of certain gut bacteria.

Alcohol Affects Our Heartbeat

In a study during German Oktoberfest, arrhythmia showed up in the heart rhythms of 30 percent of drinkers, compared to 4 percent of the general population.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags