Chicago Tribune Investigation Reveals Deceptive Chemical Industry Tactics Promoting Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals
May 7th, 2012
A ChicagoTribune investigation reveals that corporations making halogenated flame retardant chemicals spent tens of millions of dollars on public relations firms, lobbyists, and front groups to deceive the American people and legislators into believing their toxic chemicals are both necessary and safe.
"We have flame retardant chemicals similar to banned pesticides like DDT in our furniture that end up in our bodies, our pets, and wildlife," said Arlene Blum, PhD, UC Berkeley chemist, and Green Science Policy Institute founder. "This investigation should help stop new flammability standards that are designed to sell chemicals rather than to increase fire safety."
"Studies on halogenated flame retardants find they can cause lowered IQ, learning disabilities, infertility, other reproductive problems, and endocrine system irregularities," says Sharyle Patton from Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center.
"Scientific evidence is exhaustive, yet the flame retardant industry continues to deceive the public and policymakers," says Martha Dina Arguello of Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA. "It's time we stop exposing ourselves to unnecessary toxics that can impede children's ability to learn, can cause cancer, and are linked to many health problems low-income and communities of color face."
"Firefighters have elevated rates of multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, prostate, testicular cancer, malignant melanoma, brain cancer; many linked to halogenated flame retardants," says Tony Stefani, cancer survivor, founder, San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation, and retired SF Fire Department Captain. "Lawmakers should stop listening to chemical industry representatives who misrepresent the facts."
Judy Levin with Center for Environmental Health comments, "It is time that devious tactics used by the chemical industry are exposed to the public. Their drive for corporate profit trumps ethics, honesty, or concern for human health or the environment."
"California leaders should be moved to stop the use of these dangerous chemicals," says Janette Robinson Flint of Black Women for Wellness. "Our community already has staggering health inequalities, and is overburdened with chemical exposure in our personal care and cleaning products, food, and now even furniture in our homes…enough is enough."
"An obsolete CA. regulation (Technical Bulletin 117) de facto forces companies to use toxic chemicals in their products. Both business owners and consumers lose with this industry influenced scenario," comments Richard Holober of Consumer Federation of California.