More Misadventures with Flame Retardants: So.Much.Fun.

Misadventure Number 1:

Sometimes, it appears, moms get stuck between an owl pillow and a hard place. Or at least that’s what happened to me on an ill-fated trip to Target last week.

During a (rare and dreaded) shopping adventure in which I was ISO a dress-up mirror for her bedroom, Maya developed a fondness for an admittedly adorable owl pillow perkily perched at the edge of a shelf in the children’s crapola aisle.

It was kinda’ cute, fairly cheap, and not branded by Disney or any other marketing juggernaut, so I was actually contemplating letting her keep the thing when I noticed its tag. On the one hand, it said “100% polyester” and I recalled that Heather Stapleton had said that polyester is rarely treated with chemical flame retardants. On further examination, however, I noticed that its tag also read “This product complies with TB117,” indicating that it meets the California flame retardant standard that requires harmful chemicals to be put into things like my old couch. Cue record scratch here.

Despite all my research on the evils of flame retardants, I had no earthly idea whether this confusion of labels meant that it complied with the California law because its icky polyester already complies without any need for chemicals, or whether this particular pillow had also been doused in IQ-lowering carcinogens. I was pondering the possibilities when I looked over to see that Maya was enthusiastically putting the pillow in her mouth, which is nasty for a whole host of parenting-fail-type reasons.

When my attempts to wrestle the pillow out of her hands were met with embarrassingly loud wails of protest, I conceded that I should at least try to figure out an answer on the whole toxics dealie. First, I asked a sales associate, who gave me a look like I was fresh from an asylum for helicopter moms and suggested I call the main Target consumer help number.

I did just that, and their associate (allegedly named “Bob,” who was obviously an underpaid hourly employee at a call center not here in the U.S.) in turn referred me, after the several explanations I was able to deliver over Maya’s screaming, to Circo, the manufacturer of said owl pillow, even though there is no number for Circo anywhere, given that it’s just a Target brand.

Since I was Not About to Call Anyone Else About This Stupid Pillow anyway, at this point, I dunno how, the pillow got thrown into the air into the middle of the children’s clothing department, where it would do no one any harm. I told Maya that the owl was nocturnal, and had flown to its nest for “night-night.” After a few concluding sobs, that seemed to end the question and the ensuing crisis, with both of us a just little less wise for the wear.

Misadventure Number 2:

I was always one of those snobs who could not believe that kids and their stuff could fully occupy my friends’ living rooms, leaving no trace of adult life. Like all of my pre-actual-parenting judgments, however, this one bit the dust as soon as I was the one with a child. It’s just so much more convenient to have them in earshot and right off the kitchen, so that you might hear if they are choking on something with a few seconds to spare.

Nonetheless, now that M is less likely to sample the flavors of choking-sized objects, and there is the impending arrival of my new, less-chemical couch, I hatched a tentative plan to Take Back my living room. This involves, by aesthetic necessity, selling the insta-Romper Room primary-color plastic fence around the raised marble edges of the fireplace, and replacing it with some kind of cushion to protect foreheads and the like from its sharp corners.

(Although the fence is plastic, I bought the thing in Maya’s early crawling days, when a rounded-edge, musical contraption looked like a decent option. She didn’t chew on it (much), and the tunes do allow us to experience her awesome dance moves. It’s since dawned on me that there are other gates made of metal or wood to do this job (like this one, which I have not tried). Now that I’m further down my own personal anti-plastics highway, I might have used those instead.)

I recalled the One Step Ahead catalog had some hearth options for child-proofing, including strips for $30 and a large mat for $130. Not cheap, and then I saw the following:

Made of flame resistant, FDA-approved non-toxic dense foam with self-adhesive hook ‘n loop.

As we know, putting “non-toxic” and “flame resistant” in the same sentence is a form of ultimately meaningless — albeit tragically entertaining — noise, much like a Vice Presidential debate.

But actually, it’s not as funny. This picture of a large hearth pad made of flame retardant polyurethane foam with a child playing in front of it literally makes me want to choke. Well-intentioned parents who want to protect their child from both fire and physical injury will buy this hundred-smackerooni-plus pad, thinking that they are doing the best for their family, and will instead be bringing in yet another source of very exposed toxic chemicals into their home. Yeesh.

And I would guess, though this is just a guess, that the corner cushions on our glass-topped dining room table are also made of flame-retardant doused polyurethane (i.e., “PU”) foam, which is just great to have around at mealtimes, I’m sure.

In the living room, I was not about to give up the modest toxicity of our hard plastic fence to replace it with a new source of flame retardants to infect our household dust, so for a minute my reclaiming-adult-living project threatened to go off the rails entirely. Then I found this utterly sketchy product on Ebay of all places — corner cushions made of PE (polyethylene) straight from Hong Kong, for about $9 per package: THICK 2m Table Edge/Corne​r Cushion Softener Guard Protector Bumper Baby Safety.

No mention of flame retardants, though they do claim to be “non-toxic and environmentally friendly.” I’m not sure how that works, exactly. Not being born yesterday, I know this foam is not eco-friendly at all, but as it is a “needed” safety item, I held my nose and ordered it. I’m still awaiting its arrival, and will update the post when it gets here in all its ugly glory.

###

The up-shot? All in all, it’s stunning to see how complete the infiltration of these chemical flame retardants is into our lives and the spaces occupied by our children. It’s truly upsetting to think of all the families who are likely not following this arcane battle over toxic flame retardants (i.e., much of sane America) and are bringing this stuff into their homes completely unaware of its risks for them and their children.

And, as with the pillow, the lack of real information on even the simplest product — a pillow, for pete’s sake — is both troubling and problematic. What’s in any of the stuff we buy, anyway, and how was it made? We don’t really begin to know, even if we think we know a few of the questions we should ask.

33 thoughts on “More Misadventures with Flame Retardants: So.Much.Fun.

  1. I just stumbled across your website looking into whether I should let my 3yo sleep on polyester sheets (acquired during a similar ill-fated Target trip), and I think you might be my soulmate. My in-laws love with us, and they think my husband and I are ridiculous with how much we do to keep toxic chemicals out of our home, but the truth is we are probably only a third of the way toward where we need to go. The ubiquitousness of this stuff is tragic and maddening.

  2. Hi Laura,

    I am new to trying to rid our home of flame retardants. I have found a lot of info on couches, mattresses and chairs. One thing I haven’t been able to figure out is pillows. I’m not even sure if pillows have to be treated with flame retardant. I really prefer down pillows and would like to order new ones. I read on another blog that down doesn’t have to be treated but have found no way to confirm this. Do you have any idea? By the way I live in California. Thanks for your help and for all of the great info on your blog!

    • i just bought wool pillows from Holy Lamb Organics. they are literally stuffed with wool. they do the job and are non-toxic. although there is some concern that wool can contain trace levels of arsenic so if there are bodily fluids including drool, it creates a potential of some gasses that may cause sids in newborns (google babesafe mattress cover for more info – they explain it in detail). for us I felt it was the lesser of the evils… hope it helps..

  3. I was on crutches after a hospital visit and could not get better until I removed all the fire retardants in my life.
    It is serious business!1

  4. Laura, sorry if I’m just missing it in your blog, but what have you done about getting a non-toxic mattress for your daughter? (I assume flame retardants would again be an issue?) I’m in California, and my 6-year-old is moving into a “big girl” (twin) bed…
    Thanks!

    • Hi Pauline, Sorry for the delay! I somehow missed this comment! On mattresses, the rules are somewhat different. There are federal flame retardant standards for mattresses under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and companies typically meet these standards with a mix of boric acid and fabric barriers. (The chemicals are actually not powerful enough to allow mattresses to meet the standards.) Some have questioned the toxicity of boric acid, while others point to other problems with conventional mattresses related to off-gassing plastics, formaldehyde and other proprietary mixtures of chemicals, as in “memory foam.” In a controversial study, the chemicals in mattresses have even been linked to SIDs (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flame_retardant — at the bottom). There are a number of sources for organic mattresses — White Lotus is one, and others are in the blogroll for this blog under “eco-stores” online (no commission). People have also commented about mattresses they like on this blog, which a search should turn up. For Maya, I used Naturepedic for her crib mattress, which seemed safe enough and was free of the most worrisome stuff. They may also sell larger mattresses, I’m not sure. Unfortunately, I did not replace my mattress, and she insists we co-sleep, much to my dismay, so she’s barely been on her expensive organic bed! As soon as I am employed again, I will replace mine… hope that helps! All best — and good luck! Laura

  5. did you ever figure out if CA117 compliance means flame retardants are used? I have a Summer’s Infant “Organic” Baby Swing and Bouncer from 2008 that I am using again with the new-est born. Being more savvy this go-round, I noticed the CA117 label and called the company. Got the usual run-around “it’s just compliant, no flame retardants” though no one could give me specifics. I cratered and called Baby Bjorn to inquire about their ‘organic’ baby bouncer. Was told via email and on the phone there are no flame retardants on their products. Ordered the “Organic” Baby bouncer, and received it yesterday with a big “CA117” tag on the back. UGGH!!!!! I would love some clarity on this issue as my husband is pretty tired of my wild goose chase to find flame-retardant free products!

    • I had a long conversation with someone at Circle Furniture who seemed fairly knowledgeable on the topic. His understanding of CA flame retardant laws was that the products had to resist burning for a length of time, and that there are several ways to achieve this. The easiest & cheapest ways for companies is to just use chemicals. However, apparently you can also meet standards through using certain weaves and types of materials, which is how organic mattresses can be “legal”. We did not discuss a particular CA statute, but were talking about “CA flame retardant standards”. I don’t believe you can be “organic” and add chemical retardants, but I don’t have a source to site.

      There is some information about their “greenness” – but not about this – on their page: http://www.circlefurniture.com/experience/green.html

      • Hi Alicia and Laura, Alicia, thanks so much for answering!

        You are absolutely correct that the standards are not always met with chemicals, as some types of fabric or designs may meet them as is, and the test is as Alicia says. Laura, I certainly share your frustration, but because this is true, that means that merely having a compliance label does not mean the item was chemically treated, as the companies indicated to you. However, they should be able to tell you HOW they meet the standard without the use of chemicals, and it is very annoying that they could not do so. On the Bjorn item, I do know that those typically meet the Oeko Tex standard, which is the most stringent certification for textiles and that under that standard and EU rules more generally, some FR chemicals like PBDEs are banned. Still, the company should be able to say HOW they comply.

        To Alicia’s related point, the rules on organic textiles are complex but an interesting study. In mid-summer 2011, the USDA issued a policy memo clarifying that to be labeled organic in the U.S., textiles would have to meet a specific set of rules that apply mainly to food through the department’s National Organic Program. Because this is so difficult to meet for textiles, USDA also proposed an alternative for organic textile certification — organic labeling was available if the product complies with a global textile standard — GOTS IWG. (Source: http://www.organicnewsroom.com/2011/06/usda_oks_organic_textile_label.html).

        (Before that time, the “organic” label for textiles simply required organic materials as inputs, and did not address processing or later treatments of fabrics. Unfortunately, that means that a 2008 product labeled “organic” may have been treated with some kind of chemical after the fact, and the “organic” label merely means that the textiles grown for the fabric components were grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides prohibited under the 2008 rules for “organic” production.)

        The GOTS IWG standard, in turn, bans “halogenated chemicals” i.e., most flame retardants, as well as other nasty toxins, and also includes worker protections and packaging requirements. It’s really good, if not perfect (see http://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/tag/iwg/ for a nice summary, and here’s the GOTS site: http://www.global-standard.org/information-centre/faqs.html#What%20are%20the%20main%20requirements%20an%20entity%20must%20comply%20with). Assuming that a European company like Bjorn complies with GOTS and also Oeko Tex, an EU-specific textile standard, that product will not contain chemical FRs and may still “comply” with CA 117. Still, the company should be able to say HOW.

        Hope that helps, at least somewhat, in clarifying the morass of rules. Laura, if you learn anything further from these companies, please do share!

  6. Hi Laura, I so enjoy reading your blog and am constantly impressed with your research and tenacity! I’m on a (hard, but so-far successful) campaign to rid my home of flame retardants. I recently came across a surprising (potential) source, and I’m wondering if you can help me figure out more. My toddlers (twins) were given hand puppets over the holidays from a dear friend of mine. The kids adore the puppets and I did too until I noticed they were made from polyurethane foam! I’ve thrown them in a garbage bag and stowed them into my closet until I find out more. I want them to be non-toxic! I’ve called the company (FolkManis), which produces its puppets in China (probably not good news, right?). I was told that they comply with European standards (whatever those are) and was sent a (meaningless) ASTM report. I live in California (and they’re based in CA) so I assume all foam here is treated. My question: there’s no mention of complying with flammability standards on the label, but is there any reason to think this PU foam might not be treated with FRs? I don’t love the idea of the foam, but I’m willing to keep the puppets if they haven’t been treated. How do I find out more???? I would so appreciate any suggestions! Thanks!

  7. Laura,

    While I understand that polyester does not have flame retardants, that does not mean it’s non-toxic. Antimony is used in the processing of polyester. While the major risk is to the workers producing the polyester (or PET) there is a concern that polyester bedding and clothing also give off antimony. In fact, my autistic daughter’s blood and urine showed that she was excreting high levels of the stuff until we encased her mattress (in a polypropylene fabric polyethylene film) and switched to all cotton mattress pad, sheets, quilt, pillow, and pajamas.

    • Hi Wendy, I did not know that! Fascinating — and upsetting. Do you have links or a source? I was about to write on kiddie pjs, and it would be great to mention this. Thanks so much for letting me know! All best, Laura

      • Laura,

        While I can’t find a specific citation that says the antimony incorporated in polyester is of health concern, here is one link that discusses some of the issues with antimony in polyester fibers and PET in bottles.
        http://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/will-the-antimony-in-polyester-fabric-hurt-me/

        What I can confirm is that high levels of antimony and arsenic are very common in autistic children. It’s all over the autism blogs and boards of children who are being treated with biomedical approaches. I’m not sure if typical children have the same results (no one’s going around testing their hair, blood, and urine on a regular basis) or if this phenomenon occurs because mercury toxic people have reduced ability to excrete metals, thus moderate exposure to heavy metals like antimony and arsenic results in high levels of bio-accumulation. [See the work of Andrew Cutler for more on heavy metal toxicity.]

        By the way, common arsenic sources are conventionally grown chicken (antiparasitic), rice (in the soils of old cotton fields), and wool (sheep dip for parasites). Yes, the wool that’s being discussed as an alternative to fire retardent synthetics in couches and mattresses is potentially a source of another neurotoxin.

        Autistic kids are the bell-weather for all things toxic in our environment. For more areas to investigate, check out …
        http://www.autismpuzzlemom.com/2010/02/detoxify-your-home-notes.html

      • Thanks so much for these! I’ll look around as well. And I think your point about autism as a signpost is well said — and it’s made me think harder about my wool allergy as well! I really appreciate your input! All best, Laura

  8. Pingback: Retarding Flame Retardants | On a Quasi-Related Note

  9. Hi there. I have a question that I cannot seem to find the answer to anywhere. Maybe you can help me? I hope so! Now that I know about the danger of flame retardants, we are taking steps to get them out of our home. Unfortunately, I recently became a stay at home Mom and we are on a tight budget now. So as much as I’d love to throw away our mattress, we have wrapped it in one of those plastic bags that seal it in. Now what I need to know is…how do I know if my sheets and mattress pad are safe? None of them have tags stating anything about being in compliance with anything. The sheets are cotton and the pad is polyester. How do I know if they have or have not been treated? It would seem silly to go through wrapping the mattress to keep away the flame retardants only to lie on sheets or a pad covered in them! But I also do not want to run out and buy new ones. The certified mattress pads I have found are quite expensive! Thanks!

    • Hi Naomi, I keep putting off researching the mattress questions because it’s such an enormous topic — SallyS and other readers of this blog may know better! But you should be aware of a couple of things: Mattresses are regulated differently than furniture. While the flame retardants in furniture are impacted by a rule in CA (now suspended) that required chemicals to meet the standard, mattresses fall under federal rules from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and in general, chemicals that are the flame retardant class are NOT used. Instead, boric acid and the layers of wool or other materials are what meets the standard. People with chemical sensitivities may be bothered by what’s in mattresses, which do include a number of noxious substances, including off-gassing plastics (the exact components are considered proprietary). Similarly, bedding is not, typically speaking, doused in flame retardants. In fact, if the plastic you covered the bed in is vinyl, also called PVC, it may be doing you more harm than good! It may just add to the plastic burden that you take in while sleeping. I hope that helps! All best, Laura

      • Thank you sooo much for replying! I think I have asked that question on 50 different blog and enviro sites and you are the first to actually answer! We got the wrap for the mattress from http://www.offgassing-mattress-wraps.com/mattress-wraps.htm It is not supposed to off gas anything. (Crossing fingers). So just to be clear…you think it’s a safe bet that I could continue using my cotton sheets and polyester mattress cover? I know polyester isn’t the greatest thing to sleep on, but it will have to do for now until I can afford another option. Thank you thank you! (This all concerns me a lot because my toddler sleeps with me and we are thinking about having another baby. After reading about all the links between SIDS and what is in the mattress…I’m scared.)

      • You’re so welcome! The cotton sheets are fine (wash them in “green” detergent, obviously). The polyester mattress cover is not the best, of course. But if it’s not bothering you with an odor, it’s probably ok as well. We bought a fancy Naturepedic crib/toddler bed mattress for Maya, and she’s rarely slept on it! Instead, she sleeps with me on the non-organic mattress. LOL. We all do what we can. If you have another baby, why not ask for your pals to chip in on an organic mattress cover for the fam as a baby gift? You’re likely pretty well equipped for number 2 anyway! Cheers, Laura

      • I have been doing some research for a chemical free mattress and found a small company outside Chicago that hand makes mattresses using natural Joma wool and organic cotton. They are very reasonably priced and shipping was only $185. There are no flame retardants or poly in the mattress called the Pure Echo. They were able to send me by email the organic certification for the wool and cotton that they use. The website is http://www.mygreenmattress.com
        If someone is allergic to the wool which replaces the flame retardant chemicals, they can build a mattress without it as long as a prescription is provided from an allergist or family doctor.

  10. Here’s a wonderful email I got from a reader, which I got permission to post as a comment here. I’ll post a reply below the email:

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for your posts. We all have to look this in the eye sooner or later, so thanks to you for leading the way. I am on my way to a flame retardant free life!I have been holding off on purchasing anything foam based for years until I saw your sofa saga. I recently ordered a couch and chair from Ken (I hope you are still endorsing him?) I have wicker chairs draped with sheepskins from Ikea which make them reasonably comfortable. All mattresses already organic (I like organic grace and european sleepworks). Now I need to address the two gliders in my kids rooms and I can start to ‘breathe easy’. The changing table pad is still an issue too. I thought I saw somewhere on your website that you had someone custom make some cushions for you- I cant seem to find that now. Could you point me in the right direction for that resource? Were you happy with the final product?

    Another question- I have a beanbag from Land of Nod. The insert says it complies with TB117, but customer service says the polystyrene doesnt contain flame retardants. Am I being naive to think this or other bean bags might be safe products?

    Thanks so much,
    Christine

    Hi Christine,

    Thanks so much for writing, and I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you — I’ve been doing a job search, which really takes away from blogging time! In terms of your questions:

    1) I have not ordered personally from Ken, but I have every reason to think that he is totally helpful and straightforward on this question. I know he’s tracking the CA rulemaking (he might even write a guest post for this blog) and is a veteran of the furniture industry. I know others have ordered from him as well! He’s always been very responsive to my questions. I would encourage you to report back to readers of the blog about your experience with his products and service!

    2) The gliders are likely an issue — as you note, I found a cheap wooden framed one at a yard sale (like this one: http://www.sears.com/search=glider%20rocker%20natural%20wood). Craigslist would also be a good source. I then posted on Etsy Alchemy — a function which no longer appears to exist in the same way — that I wanted some handmade custom pillows. (Etsy now has a new “team” structure for custom orders, which might work: http://www.etsy.com/teams/7677/custom-order-corner-the-new-alchemy) I suppose you could also search for custom pillowmakers and propose orders to them, but finding one that you’d want to work with is so much more work this way. Or you could use the nice gal I did — Maureen. Her shop is here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/2and2Together. You can use either organic cloth batting (from Nearsea Naturals, linked to in the blogroll, or another company (even Fabric.com has a few organic offerings). Or you can be reassured that most polyester batting is likely ok, flame-retardants-wise.

    3) On the beanbag, the polystyrene pellets may not need flame retardants. The fabric could have had a treatment with flame retardants though. Polystyrene is also generally icky stuff, and eating from it is definitely not a good idea: the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is adding styrene to its list of substances “reasonably anticipated” to cause cancer. http://charlottesville.legalexaminer.com/defective-and-dangerous-products/stuff-about-styrofoam-is-it-a-carcinogen.aspx?googleid=293794 And here’s more: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates styrene as a Hazardous Air Pollutant and has described styrene to be “a suspected toxin to the gastrointestinal tract, kidney, and respiratory system, among others…” http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2012/public-health-groups-move-to-enter-fight-over-toxic-chemical.

    So, the real question with the bean-bag is whether you want it around… sorry the news isn’t better on that one!

    Cheers,
    Laura

  11. You sound just like me!! Frustrating and sad! I have done alot of research on toxic chemicals, including flame retardants. The complies with CA bulletin 117 always confused me. The best answer I got was from the company Mighty Nest (which is awesome if you haven’t heard of them) and a company whose product they carried. The product was an organic cotton or wool, can’t remember now, nursing pillow. They said that just because a product has a tag stating it complies with the CA bulletin, does not mean that it contains chemical flame retardants. Some things like wool are naturally flame resistant, therefore they pass the test without the addition of chemical flame retardants. The bad part is that means you have to contact each company whose product is in question and hope that someone has some information on what chemicals were used or not used to manufacture it.

    Yes, the whole california law really has negatively impacted our whole country. I wish we could get rid of it. A note about One Step Ahead. I called the company to ask about this really neat toy I wanted to get my daughters and they refused to tell me whether flame retardants were used on it or not. It was obvious to me that they do not care about the health and safety of children, so I have not bought anything from them since. Unfortunately, that is more the rule than the exception in my experience.

    Rhoost sells some great safety products that are chemical flame retardant free. I use their corner protectors, after I discovered the foam ones from babies r us were doused in flame retardants. Unfortunately, I don’t think they make a big protector for something like a fireplace.

    I would love to know where you found a less toxic couch? We need one soon, but I am putting off the purchase hoping that a company comes out with a nontoxic, affordable, attractive option before then.

    Glad to hear I am not alone in driving myself crazy at times to keep my family safe!! Meg

    • Hi Meg! It’s maddening, isn’t it?? You are certainly not alone in being driven mad by these issues! And I agree about One Step Ahead — I ordered some puzzles from them marketed as “heirloom” quality solid wood and when they arrived they were Russian plywood! I called to complain and get my money back, but it was clear they didn’t care at all about their misleading advertising.

      I have 4 main posts on the couches question — Sad Sofa Sagas Parts One through Four, which are linked to from my FAQ, here: https://laurasrules.org/2012/06/27/burning-questions-an-faq-on-flame-retardants-in-furniture/ There are also great points in the comments to these posts on sources and other issues. Hope that helps!
      All best, Laura

      • Laura,
        So glad I found your blog! You have such great info and resources on here. Sorry about the couch question. I stumbled upon your blog posts after I wrote that to you. Keep up the hard work! Meg

  12. Sounds like how my experiences will be once my 13 month old starts to want more and more things. When I buy something new (furniture, pillows, food product, soap, etc), I spend considerable time reviewing info about flame retardants, other VOCs, preservatives, ingredients, cosmetic chemicals, etc. Thankfully, I can now get good info on personal care products and food – especially if you know what to look for and become a savvy shopper. And, thankfully, I have a good memory so I can just research the brand once and never buy something different. But, even for me, it’s almost impossible to know if something has flame retardants sprayed all over it, if the car seat off-gasses useless flame retardants that have never been proven to save anyone (per that Chicago Tribune article), if something has been sprayed with scotch guard, if my daughter’s toy contain lead, if my daughter’s crayons have mercury (per Mislead movie FB page), if that ‘stainless steal’ water bottle actually has some cadmium, etc. At least they can’t ruin glass, oh wait – leaded crystal.

  13. There’s great info on http://www.greensciencepolicy.org and their work and others’ this year with the state of CA has been led to some upcoming changes in CA 117. Another area of big concern with toxic flame retardants is the fact that they are added to all foam building insulation- so as we do another thing we think is good, protecting our children and future generations from climate change by insulating better, we may, if using foam, be adding to the chemical burden in our children’s bodies.

  14. Oh Dear Laura, I don’t know whether to howl with laughter or drag out the tissues.
    This reads like an echo off my very own walls – so instead, perhaps with a huge dose of “I hear you”, how about a nod of empathy and a dose of ‘keep talking’.
    p.s. Somewhere, I think Debra Dadd pointed out that Polyethelene is far friendlier than polyurethane – this is a very good question to put her onto.

  15. Hi Laura,
    Have you tried contacting your State Reps about changing the laws in your state about flame retardants? It’s on my todo, or to talk to them about when I see them, list for me. One thought I’ve had is that I’m pretty sure that most states laws say “Comply with CA requirements” so I’m wondering if it would be more effective for everyone to try to just get CA’s laws to change.

    Have you looked into this at all?

    thanks!

    • Hi Alicia, That’s a great idea — I have been in touch with them in supporting the Safe Chemicals Act, which is the subject of my just prior post, and everyone should do this!! It is just a CA standard that is impacting products, and that standard is now under review, and should be rewritten by next year. I will look into how to weigh in on that process, and let my readers know — thanks so much for your insight and interest. All best, Laura

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