Fire Retardants Off-Gassing You
Chlorinated TRIS is a fire retardant used in upholstered furniture for the 40 years prior to 2015. Most of us have couches make sometime in the past 40 years. Fire retardants are implicated in a wide variety of conditions we try to avoid, including: lowered birth weight, infertility, obesity, cognitive impairment, and autism. In California, in a misguided but well-intentioned effort to reduce fire deaths, TB117 was passed requiring upholstered furniture to meet fire safety standards, and only in January of this year, was that modified to undo the wrong. Not only did the law lead to toxins in our homes, but the addition of Chlorinated TRIS did not even work to prevent fires, and in fact, when a foam cushion treated with this fire retardant burns, it releases particularly noxious smoke. A recent study showed a fire retardants in babies’ car seats are releasing dangerous dust. What can you do? Use vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters, dust often and well, consider replacing furniture and car seats labeled, “complies with Technical Bulletin 117,” and don’t eat on the couch (which your mother told you not to do anyway). Also, be politically active! Work on your legislators to update the ineffective law supposed to protect us all, the “Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976,” which is being considered by Congress at the time of this writing. For more information on Chlorinated TRIS and other toxic fire retardants found in the home, visit NRDC.org.