Stop Using Flame Retardant Chemicals that Cause Cancer

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Target: Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission

Goal: Ban cancer-causing flame retardants and research how to produce safer flame retardants

Flame retardant chemicals on furniture may be causing more harm than they’re worth. A Chicago Tribune article reported that these chemicals can migrate out of products into the air and into household dust, to be ingested by people who live in the house. They also make smoke from fires even more toxic. As a result, female firefighters are six times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than other women. Firefighter Janette Neves Rivera began calling attention to the issue when she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer last year.

The chemicals are also linked to developmental disorders, reproductive difficulty, and other serious health problems. Firefighters and fire safety experts have shown that these chemicals don’t necessarily protect the furniture from fire either. Chemical companies are keeping these chemicals in business, however, at the expense of public safety.

A Duke University study found that these chemicals were in 85 percent of the couches tested. The most dangerous chemical, Tris, was outlawed for use in children’s pajamas in 1977 but continues to be used in everything else.

California officials are pushing for a law that will ban the use of dangerous flame-retardants. We think that other states should follow suit. Urge Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban the use of carcinogenic flame retardants in furniture.


Dear Ms. Tenenbaum,

We are appalled to hear about the widespread use of toxic flame retardants in furniture. Firefighter Janette Neves Rivera contracted breast cancer from the chemical fumes caused by these flame retardants as she was saving lives. She calls attention to the fact that female firefighters are six times more likely to develop breast cancer for this reason.

A Duke University study found the toxins in flame retardants to be present in 85 percent of homes. These toxins, most notoriously one called Tris, which has been banned from use in children’s pajamas since 1977, are absorbed into the air and into household dust, where they can poison whole families.

California is considering a law that will outlaw the use of these flame retardants. Please follow suit and support a ban on the use of flame retardants in furniture until a less toxic variation is developed.


[Your Name Here]

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