A recent set of studies suggest that chemicals used to fireproof everyday household items may have a potentially toxic effect on humans and their environment. Fire retardant chemicals are most commonly used to protect furniture, carpeting and certain electronics from fire hazards. According to the two studies on the journal of Environmental Science & Technology a closer look into the effects of flame retardants affect human health ranging from cancer to hormone disruption. Such chemicals mark for a strong presence in everyday American homes and the damage they cause can be detrimental to human health, if you have been hurt by such a product contact a California personal injury lawyer.

“What’s concerning about this is that so many of these chemicals we’re finding are associated with hormone disruption or cancer, or haven’t been tested,” says Robin Dodson, a research scientist at Silent Spring Institute. “It’s worrisome.”

The chemicals that are typically found may include polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which according to the Environmental Protection Agency “may cause liver toxicity, thyroid toxicity, and neurodevelopmental toxicity.” Other resources state that PBDE’s were supposed to have been removed from being applied to manufacturing since 2004. When inspected, household dust also had traces of the chemicals including DDT, an insecticide that has been banned in the United States for many years because it has the potential to disrupt reproductive development or cause cancer.

Researchers from Duke University, Boston University, and University of California Berkeley worked together to study traces of suspect flame-retardant chemicals on cushions across the homes of people in the United States.  It was discovered that at least 85% of them had some trace of the chemical embedded into the product. Secondary, the studies were able to prove that those chemicals that are used to slow the burning of fire make their way out of the product and onto the air that is shared with humans.  At Silent Spring Institute in Massachusetts, scientists analyzed household dust in the state of California only do discover that at least one of the homes out of the sixteen tested had potentially unsafe levels of chemical presence.

In addition to the findings, tris an agent known to break down chromosomes was found. Widely used on children’s sleepwear, tris was banned in the United States for its cancer-causing potential and replaced with newer untested chemicals which may also pose a danger to public safety.

Fire retardant chemicals found their way into peoples households after the Californian Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation made it a requirement for the foam inside upholstered furniture should be able to withstand a flame from some typical household source such as a candle or a cigar or match for about twelve seconds before catching on fire – Technical Bulletin 117. Foam, a largely combustible material needs anywhere from five to ten percent of its weight dipped in the fire retardant material to prevent it from catching afire. Because of strict California requirement, the furniture industry keeps such standards on their furniture products across the U.S.

It is important that the materials are thoroughly tested and inspected or even reengineered to make them safer near humans like Silent Spring’s Robin Dodson says: “We need to stop being so hindsighted in approach, and start testing these chemicals before we use them.”