Posted on 11/01/2017 in News 32 2017
Are our genetic and cell materials toxic by design?

A Canadian NGO, funded by SSHRC (Canada Government Research Council) has published a brochure suggesting (p16) that all chemicals containing “chlorine, bromine (… or) phosphorous bonded to carbon” are “likely to be:

Persistent in the environment … Capable of long-range transport … Bio-accumulative … (and) Toxic”. In reality, molecules in our bodies which consist of phosphorus bonded to carbon include our genetic material (DNA), cell membranes (phospholipids), key molecules in cellular energy metabolism (ATP/ADP), nerve cell transmitters, and many others: no known form of life could exist without these. This seems to be part a presentation which suggests that all flame retardants are the same and that all are potentially harmful. For example, the brochure includes chemical symbols of bromine on every page and suggests (p. 3) that all brominated flame retardants are endocrine disruptors. The only non halogenated phosphorus flame retardant cited is (isopropylated) triphenyl phosphate IPTPP/TPP. Despite this biased presentation, the policy recommendations of the document are in line with pinfa’s objectives: ban from all consumer products all flame retardants for which there is evidence of harm (pinfa would specify “as used”, taking into account whether the FR is fixed in the product), ban those which have no environmental and health safety assessment and “develop a strategy on the use of alternative flame retardant chemicals that meaningfully implements the precautionary principle” (pinfa would specify that this should address fire safety as well as chemical safety).

“Toxic by Design Eliminating harmful flame retardant chemicals from our bodies, homes, & communities”, A White Paper by the Endocrine Disruptors Action Group 27 pages, October 2016

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