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

Women Live Longer When Surrounded by Greenery

In a Harvard study, women living in the greenest areas had a 12 percent lower mortality rate over an eight-year period.

Vitamin D plus Calcium Lowers Cancer Risk

Postmenopausal women that took D3 and calcium daily had a lower cancer rate four years later than women that didn’t.

Less Salt Reduces Nighttime Potty Visits

Japanese men and women that reduced salt in their diet made fewer trips to the bathroom at night, while those that increased salt intake made more.

Early Birds Eat Better and Exercise More

People that rise early make healthier food choices and are more physically active throughout the day, say researchers.

Sufficient Sleep Supports Immunity

Fewer hours of sleep was linked to a depressed immune system in a University of Washington study that had ruled out genetic factors as contributors.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags