The use of flame retardants in furniture, baby products and other household items may sound like a good idea on the surface. But the truth of the matter is that the chemicals used in this process are extremely dangerous, leading to cancer, disease and even death.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of these harmful chemicals, do not hesitate to consult with a lawyer at Brayton Purcell LLP to learn more about your rights.
The History Behind Flame Retardant Chemicals
The main drive behind the push for putting flame retardant chemicals in household goods started with big tobacco companies. They did not want to market a self-extinguishing cigarette, but they also had to face a huge public relations problem involving people burning to death in house fires caused by cigarettes. So, big tobacco companies created and funded the National Association of State Fire Marshals to push for flame retardants in furniture and other household products.
In 1975, California created Technical Bulletin 117. This requires the foam used in furniture to withstand open flame for 12 seconds. Because California is such a big market, the furniture industry and baby product industry and others simply added brominated, chlorinated tris, penta, TBB, TBPH, TDCEP, TCPP, TDCPP, and Emerald NH-1 flame retardants to all products for all markets to try to meet this standard.
How Flame Retardants Hurt You and Your Family
The trouble is that flame retardant chemicals do not work as advertised because the foam is not treated with enough of the retardants, and the fabric around it is not treated at all. To claim that they work, the chemical manufacturers rely on only a few studies. One of these studies was completed by a scientist named Paustenbach, who himself explains that it is nonsense for big businesses to rely on his findings. The Chicago Tribune has also conducted research into these studies and has found that the claims are greatly flawed.
Further, these toxic chemicals are released into the household when the products are used, and also when burned. The result is that the population has massive amounts of these chemicals in their bodies. Once in the body, these materials cause cancer throughout the population, most concerning in children and firemen.
What Products Contain Flame Retardant Material?
These cancer-causing agents can be found in many household items, including:
- Foam mattresses
- Furniture padding
- Pillows and more
The main producers in the global brominated flame retardants industry, and the bulk of the U.S. industry, consists of only three companies: Chemtura Corp. (brand Firemaster 550), Albemarle Corp., and ICL Industrial Products.
Scientists, firemen (especially San Francisco), and Senator Mark Leno have tried for years to get Technical Bulletin 117 changed, but the three manufactures created a fake group called Citizens for Fire Safety to lobby against him. Finally in 2012, Governor Brown issued an executive order followed by a new bill from the legislature in 2014 that allows furniture manufacturers to comply with fire safety standards without using the chemical retardants, but it did not ban the retardants.
Get More Information Regarding Flame Retardants and the Injuries They Cause
To learn more about your options if you or a loved one have been injured due to flame retardants in your home, call our California law firm today.