Posted on 30/06/2017 in News 32 2017
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NGO accuses certain chemicals of impacting children’s brain development

Maine DEP testifies against furniture flame retardant ban

Children flame retardant exposure study

NGO accuses certain chemicals of impacting children’s brain development: UK environment NGO ‘CHEM Trust’ has published a 45 page document, based on 130 science publications and other reports, accusing certain families of chemicals of disrupting children’s brain development, whilst recognising that of the “hundreds of man-made chemicals in our daily life … many of these chemicals will have not negative effect on us”. The NGO suggests, from the evidence referenced, that a number of (families of) chemicals have DNT (developmental neurotoxic) properties, including brominated flame retardants, per- and poly-fluorocarbons, perchlorate, TECP (Tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate) and similar FRs, organophosphorus pesticides. Despite not considering PIN flame retardants as problematic, the report recommends removing the open flame fire resistance requirement for UK furniture.

ChemTrust UK 2017 “No Brainer. The impact of chemicals on children’s brain development: a cause for concern and a need for action”

Maine DEP testifies against furniture flame retardant ban: Maine firefighters and environmental groups have called on the state to ban all “chemical flame retardants” in domestic furniture, claiming that when flame retardant materials burn they release potentially carcinogenic smoke gases and particles. Firefighters are concerned about increased cancer levels in their profession. The State’s Department of Environmental Protection however has testified against the proposed State Bill (LD182) stating that banning all flame retardant is not appropriate and would fail to push towards using safer alternatives. Elsewhere, a proposed State ban of organohalogen FRs in furniture in Rhode Island is also being supported by a firefighter, who considers that FRs cause smouldering of materials so increasing release of toxic cyanide gas. pinfa considers that appropriate selection of PIN FR solutions, in particular using smoke inhibiting synergists and char barrier forming PIN FRs (which are less liable to lead to smouldering) should reduce total smoke and toxicity emissions in fires, particularly because their use will usually reduce the total amounts of materials burning, and so smoke generation.

“Firefighters ask for chemical flame retardant ban”  “Maine agency testifies against flame retardant bill” 3 March 2017 ChemicalWatch  “Bill Would Ban Furniture with Toxic Flame-Retardants” 8 March 2017  “Bill to end sale of furniture containing flame retardants advances with strong bipartisan vote” 14/4/17 

Children flame retardant exposure study: 72 pre-school children (3-5 years) in Oregon were monitored for exposure to 11 flame retardants for 7 days, using a silicone band worn on the wrist or ankle. “Brominated FRs” were analysed (in fact, six PBDEs) and “Organophosphorus FRs” (in fact, only four phosphorus esters, three chlorinated and one non-chlorinated TPP). FR exposure was statistically correlated in some cases negatively, in others positively, to three out of seven social behaviour factors as evaluated by teachers (SSIS-RS – Social Skills Improvement System – Rating Scale), after adjusting for age, sex and family context. pinfa comments: the different results between different groups of FRs suggest that further work is needed to assess to what extent results might be due to external factors such as lifestyle, exercise, …


“Cross-sectional study of social behaviors in preschool children and exposure to flame Retardants”, al., Environmental Health (2017) 16:23, S.. Lipscomb et al.,  Phosphorus esters analysed: TDCPP, TCPP, TCEP, TPP
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