Flame Retardants are a class of chemicals added to furniture, electronics, and building materials intended to help prevent fire. They have been used in consumer and industrial products since the 1970s ² and are now abundant in the environment. Despite the chemical industry’s claims, many flame retardants are unnecessary, don’t work well, and are poisonous¹. The original study claiming the effectiveness of flame retardants has proven to have been “grossly distorted” and not based on real-world conditions. The chemical industry manipulated scientific findings to promote the widespread use of flame retardants and downplay the health risks, especially to children. 17
Flame retardants are often added or applied in:
Flame retardants penetrate our bodies through what we eat, drink and breath. One of the biggest dangers is that they bioaccumulate over time, causing long-term chronic health problems as bodies contain increasing levels of these toxic chemicals. Flame Retardants have been shown to cause neurological damage, hormone disruption, and cancer1.
There are hundreds of flame retardants. In general, flame retardants are grouped into 2 classes: halogenated and non-halogenated.7 While halogenated flame retardants pose the most health concerns there are some flame retardants that are halogen-free that should also be used carefully.
To avoid toxic flame retardants in materials:
Watch this 3 minute video featuring a documentary on the history of flame retardants and the chemical industry’s marketing campaign of deception that led to prevalence of these chemicals in our society today.
Bhavishya Kambhampati is a dedicated designer currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Fine Arts with a major in Interior Design at SCAD University. With a passion for conservation, restoration, sustainable materials, and architecture, she actively explores innovative approaches to integrate organic elements into her work, such as creating paint pigments from flower petals and leaves. Bhavishya’s commitment to sustainability and her belief in the cyclic nature of life drive her both personally and professionally.
Having previously obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering, Bhavishya’s profound love for design prompted her transition into the field where she truly belongs. As a self-taught artist and designer, she effortlessly combines her technical expertise with her innate creative abilities, allowing her to continually refine her skills and shape her goals with unwavering dedication.