From Engineering on August 04, 2008 in General
Oh yes, you feel safe now that you know your home is somewhat fire proof. At ease while you sleep knowing that if anything happened you’d be ok, your house would be ok. Sorry to burst your happy bubble, but even though there are fire retardants in your home, doesn’t mean that they are safe. In fact, the most commonly used fire retardant that has been used since the 1970s, PBDE, Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers, have been found to be toxic. In science labs this toxic fire retardant has shown health effects of neurological and developmental defects in mice and rats.
PBDE’s are everywhere! They are found in your couch, TV, computer, house and office dust, toaster, hair dryers, microwaves, carpet padding, mattresses, and upholstered furniture. When you sit on a cushion seat, you release this invisible toxin right into your air, into your clothes, and onto your skin. You breathe it in, you wash it off and down the drains and into the sewage, which believe this, gets used to fertilize our very own farm fields!! Scientists have found that this chemical sticks to fat. Scientists have done breast milk tests and have found that this chemical sticks to breast milk, the women who bare families and breast feed their babies are feeding them this chemical too. This PBDE chemical contaminates our food too, mainly the meat and dairy products, but these foods are abundantly eaten. There’s no getting around it.
It has also been found that while this chemical burns, hence it is a fire retardant, it creates a toxic substance with a form of dioxin- a deadly carcinogen. Firefighters probably have the worst of it all, their uniforms are made with this chemical, but still the heat and smoke stick to their bodies and clothes and they are breathing this stuff in for up to a month or two after the fire they fought.
It’s a scary thought isn’t it? I was shocked to have learned this myself. Fortunately, at this time the government is trying to ban this product from ever being used again, and some furniture stores don’t even carry furniture that have PBDE’s in them any more.