The Clean Water Blog

For a hot V-day, hold the flame retardants

For Valentine’s Day this year, I want a hot date. So back off winter storms, late nights at work, the flu, or anything else that might keep me from my mission.

Chemical industry, I’m talking to you too! Keep your Chlorinated Tris, PBDEs and Firemaster 550 away. I’m looking to fan the flames of love, and your fire-retardant chemicals have no part in my V-day plans.

In fact, keep those fire-retardants away every day. Cancer, thyroid disease and nervous system damage aren’t very conducive to hot dates either—there is absolutely nothing sexy or hot about chemotherapy. And how about infertility?  That’s a real downer when you’re looking for love. But when flame retardant chemicals get into our bodies, those are the kind of nasty health problems they can cause.

And they do get into our bodies. You, chemical industry, might convince manufacturers to put them into our furniture, children’s car seats or nursing pillows, our cell phones and computers, or any number of other products, but they don’t stay there. They get out of the products and all that dust I swept under the rug (when cleaning the house to get ready for that hot date, of course) is full of them. Then we breathe them in or ingest them (especially kids – because they’re crawling around in that dust all day) and, bam…there they are in our bodies.

But, you ask, what about a fire? That will definitely ruin your hot date, and don’t you need the flame retardants to make sure that doesn’t happen? 

Nope, turns out that making furniture and all those kids products out of cotton, wool, polyester and other materials that don’t burn easily does the job just as well. Besides, when that couch does burn in a fire, all those flame retardants become toxic fumes that firefighters are exposed to, given them higher rates of cancer. So, you can bring your date home to your fire-safe couch that’s also free of toxic flame retardants and neither of you will be increasing your risk of cancer. Now that’s hot.

You too can help make this and all future Valentine’s Days flame retardant free: call or write to your Massachusetts State Legislators and ask them to support An Act to protect children, families and firefighters from toxic flame retardants (H.D.1258 & S.D.539).