Alarmism, not Science, Guides Debate on Flame Retardants

"Outdated Science And Alarmism Drives Flame Retardant Debate," By Angela Logomasini. Learning from history should keep us from repeating our mistakes. Yet when it comes to environmental politics, the opposite seems to be true. History and improved scientific understanding fail to inform, while alarmism and irrational fears drive policy.  The current debate related to flame retardant chemicals is a prime example. Environmental activist groups have petitioned the Consumer Product Safety … [Read more...]

Do We Need Government Flammability Standards for Furniture?

"Doing Away with Government Flammability Standards," By Angela Logomasini. During the past several years, there’s been much hype in the news alleging that flame retardant chemicals used on upholstered furniture pose unacceptable health risks. With these alarmist claims abounding, some green minded individuals complain that they unknowingly purchased couches that contain these chemicals because furniture manufacturers apply them to meet government flammability standards. To address this concern, … [Read more...]

Toxic Chrismas Decorations?

“Watchdog” Group Warns about “Toxic” Christmas Decorations. Ignore Their Barking," by American Council on Science and Health. Where would one normally expect to find such a sensational story: What could be worse than getting a bag of coal for Christmas? A bag full of toxic chemicals, health groups say. A new report from HealthyStuff.org finds toxic chemicals in many of the popular Christmas decorations like Santa Clause [sic] hats, Christmas lights, stockings, and wreaths that were tested. We … [Read more...]

Fanning Flames on Flame Retardants

"Forgive this Pun, but Once Again, Flame Retardants are a Hot Topic in the News," By American Council on Science and Health. “Chemicals found in moms and kids,” screams the headline! There is nothing new. This time, the “news” comes from an article in the Chicago Tribune written by Michael Hawthorne. “News” is a stretch, since this has been going on forever, with the same arguments being recycled over and over. Yet, our dear friends at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) seem to be so … [Read more...]

Should We Fear Flames or Flame Retardants?

"Be Very Afraid of Flame-Retardants: NY Times Blog. Why? They Don’t (can’t) Say," By American Council on Science and Health. Another in the very long line of toxic terrors comes your way in today’s “Science” section of the paper of record, the New York Times. One of their favorites from their stable of scaremongers, Deborah Blum (writing, quite appropriately, in her “Poison Pen” blog), has taken the trouble to warn us, again, about the omnipresence of [insert the word “toxic” here as needed] … [Read more...]

Anti-Flame Retardant “Toxic Hot Seat”

"HBO’s “Toxic Hot Seat” is Toxic All Right: It Seems to Have Addled Kristof’s Brain," By American Council on Science and Health. 1181213_88625943New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, in his latest opus entitled Danger Lurks in That Mickey Mouse Couch — wait, did he really say that? Anyway, Nick has gone off the rails again, intoxicated by the siren song of an HBO special on tonight (Monday, November 25th), similarly entitled Toxic Hot Seat. The producers of that documentary have the … [Read more...]

Protect the Kids with Flame Retardants

"Does Your Halloween Costume Contain Flame-Retardants? It should!" by American Council on Science and Health. Halloween is right around the corner and we’re sure you’ve been thinking about costumes and candy, pumpkins and haunted houses. However, safety is also something that can be forgotten on Halloween. But here’s one way you can make sure to keep you and your kids safe: Make sure your costumes are made from materials containing flame retardants or use material that will not set on fire … [Read more...]

Protect Kids with Flame Retardant Halloween Costumes

"Keep the Kids Safe with Flame-Retardant Halloween Costumes," by Angela Logomasini. It bears repeating:  flame retardant chemicals make life safer. Yet more often than not, news stories say we should fear these chemicals—ignoring the fact that these products have safely reduced fire risks for decades. This is why firefighters suggest judicious use of flame-retardant materials from treated furniture to clothing.  So rather than fall for anti-chemical hype, moms should focus on reducing fire … [Read more...]

Deadly Advice on Flame Retardants

"Green Advice on Flame Retardants Promises to Prove Deadly," by Angela Logomasini. For the past few years, newspapers have featured stories on the allegedly dire risks of flame retardants, and environmental activists are pushing for government bans and regulations. Keep the kids off those “toxic couches” they say, if you care at all about them. Never mind the fact that these trace chemicals in the foam have never been shown to hurt anyone. But when they are not there, life threatening fires … [Read more...]

Dangerous Reversal on Flame Retardants

"The Chemphobes Deadly Agenda: Flame Retardants," by Julie Gunlock. In January 2000, a fire broke out in a dormitory at Seton Hall University in New Jersey ... In 2001, the New York Times covered the aftermath of the blaze and focused on demands that the school install sprinklers and adopt “mandatory fire retardancy standards” for dorm furniture. .... Now, over a decade past the Seton Hall fire, memories have faded and people are literally inventing things to fear. Enter the chemphobes who have … [Read more...]

Washington State Flame Retardant Debate

"Flame Retardant Ban Advocates Admit New Ban Repeats Errors of Last Ban," by Todd Myers. Last week the House Environment Committee in Olympia considered HB 1294 which would ban a certain type of flame-retardant compound and create a process for identifying alternatives. Supporters of the legislation argue this will get us off the "toxic treadmill" of moving from one risky compound to the next. Read the full article on the Washington Policy Center Blog. … [Read more...]

Washington State Considers Ban on Flame Retardants

"Three Questions for Advocates of the Latest Ban on Flame-Retardants," by Todd Myers. Tomorrow, the House Environment Committee will consider HB 1294, the latest ban on flame-retardant compounds. The bill would ban a compound called Tris and would give the Department of Ecology the authority to ban future flame-retardants "unless a manufacturer demonstrates that there is not a technically feasible safer alternative to the flame retardant." Read the full story on the Washington Policy Center … [Read more...]

PepsiCo, Brominated Vegetable Oil and Gatorade

"Inflamed Debate on Gatorade," by Angela Logomasini When well-intentioned, 16-year old Sarah Kavanagh Googled an ingredient that she found on the label of her Gatorade, she learned that the chemical--brominated vegetable oil (BVO)--is also patented in Europe as a flame retardant. Since she didn't like what she learned, she launched a petition on Change.org to get PepsiCo Inc., to remove it from Gatorade. Read the full article on IWF's Inkwell Blog. … [Read more...]

Top Chemical Scares of 2012

"Top Ten Chemical Scares of 2012," by Angela Logomasini This past year, there must have been thousands of green-group-inspired news stories hyping risks regarding numerous chemicals. Regulators too have engaged in efforts to demonize various products unfairly, placing them on “concern” lists and demanding that companies expend enormous amounts of money to study, test, and re-study chemicals that have been safely used for decades. Below is my top-ten list of 2012 green alarms along with links … [Read more...]

Proposition 65 and Flame Retardants

"Another Notch in Prop 65’s Belt, Against Infants’ Flame-Retardant," by American Council on Science and Health. Last year, chlorinated Tris — a fire retardant chemical — was added to California’s ever-expanding list of “carcinogens and reproductive toxins” According to the state’s Proposition 65, products containing a certain level of chemicals on this lengthy list must carry a warning label. Starting in October, the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland bought and tested about 25 … [Read more...]

Media Hype and Flame Retardants

"CBS presents hype as news," by American Council on Science and Health. Does anyone remember when CBS used to be a respected news organization that did its own research — or at least quoted independent experts? Or even conducted interviews? When it comes to health and science news, alas, it seems like they’ve been reduced to rewriting alarmist or sensationalist press releases. Last month there was the magic “cancer bra” which the network claimed might detect breast cancer … then there was last … [Read more...]

ACSH’s Ross Brings Perspective to Flame Retardant Debate

"Dr. Ross Debates Flame Retardants with NPR Guests," by American Council on Science and Health. As we reported just last week, fear of flame retardants is back in the news once more. While we always do our best to explain why the various flame retardants found in furniture do not, in fact, pose a toxic threat, just yesterday, ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross took on the issue in a more public — and resistant — forum: National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm Show. We encourage you to head over to ... Read the … [Read more...]

Flame Retardants in the News

"More Smoke about Flame Retardants," by Roya Heydari. ACSH staffers couldn’t help but shake their heads in disappointment this morning at a recent New York Times article questioning the safety of our furniture. The piece, entitled “How Dangerous is Your Couch,” is an extremely long recounting of Dr. Arlene Blum’s crusade against the ‘toxic chemicals’ found in furniture. Dr. Blum, co-author of the journal article that spearheaded the removal of so-called toxic flame retardants from children’s … [Read more...]

Chicago Tribune Series on Flame Retardants Under Fire

"Time to Extinguish Flame Retardant Hype," by Angela Logomasini Flame retardants are making headlines these days thanks to an “exposé” — more properly characterized as an unsubstantiated smear campaign — published as a series of articles in the Chicago Tribune this past spring. The effort has helped Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) build the case for his anti-chemical legislation, which he calls the “Safe Chemicals Act.” Supposedly, he and his journalist allies at the Chicago Tribune know … [Read more...]

Washington State and Flame Retardant Bans

"Department of Ecology Overrules Legislature on Flame Retardant," By Todd Meyers. On Monday, the Washington Toxics Coalition announced that the Department of Ecology would begin the process to list a flame retardant known as Tris as a "chemical of high concern." They announced the decision on Twitter, writing "WE WON! @ecologywa is starting the process to list chlorinated Tris as a chemical of concern to kids!" This announcement stands out for several reasons. Read the full article on the … [Read more...]

Flame Retardants and TSCA

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and 25 members of Congress recently sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, urging quick action on regulations related to a class of flame retardant chemicals called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Supposedly, consumers are in grave danger from these chemicals, and EPA needs to act quickly. The lawmakers lament in their letter that the EPA "must undertake lengthy rulemaking processes" before regulating these chemicals. We should be glad that … [Read more...]

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