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Flame Retardants in Consumer Products: Does the Benefit Justify the Harm?

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Uploaded on Sep 23, 2011

Speaker: Arlene Blum, Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute

Sponsor: CITRIS (Ctr for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society), UC Berkeley (Headquarters), Research Exchange seminar

Organohalogen flame retardants, structurally similar to banned substances such as DDT and PCBs, are used at high levels in furniture, baby products, and other consumer and building products. These chemicals are semi-volatile and migrate from products into dust which ends up in people, animals, and the environment. Extensive research shows that exposure to organohalogen chemicals is associated with neurological, reproductive, endocrine, and thyroid disorders, as well as cancer. And for many uses they do not provide a fire safety benefit.

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