The term flame retardants subsume a diverse group of chemicals which are to manufactured materials; such as plastics and textiles; surface finishes and coatings. Flame retardants are activated by the presence of an ignition source and are to prevent or slow the further development of ignition by a variety of different physical and chemical methods.
Children living in homes with all vinyl flooring or flame-retardant chemicals in the sofa have significantly higher concentrations; of potentially harmful semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) in their blood or urine than children from homes where these materials are not present; according to a new Duke University-led study.
At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. They found that children living in homes where the sofa in the main living area contained flame-retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in its foam had a six-fold higher concentration of PBDEs in their blood serum.
PBDEs linked in laboratory tests
Exposure to PBDEs linked in laboratory tests to neurodevelopmental delays, obesity, endocrine and thyroid disruption; cancer and other diseases. Children from homes that vinyl flooring in all areas found to have concentrations of benzyl butyl phthalate metabolite in their urine that were 15 times higher than those in children living with no vinyl flooring.
Benzyl butyl phthalate linked to respiratory disorders, skin irritations, multiple myeloma, and reproductive disorders. So “SVOCs are widely used in electronics, furniture, and building materials and can detect in nearly all indoor environments,” an environmental chemist at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment; who led the research.
Greater exposure to chemicals
“Human exposure to them is widespread; particularly for young children who spend most of their time indoors; have greater exposure to chemicals found in household dust.” “Nonetheless, there has been little research on the relative contribution of specific products and materials to children’s overall exposure to SVOCs,”. Disease Control & Prevention, and Boston University began a three-year study of in-home exposures to SVOCs among 203 children from 190 families.
“Their primary goal was to investigate links between specific products and children’s exposures; to determine how the exposure happened it through breathing; skin contact or inadvertent dust inhalation;To that end, the team analyzed samples of indoor air, indoor dust; foam collected from furniture in each of the children’s homes; along with a hand wipe sample, urine, and blood from each child.
“They quantified 44 biomarkers of exposure to phthalates, organophosphate esters, brominated flame retardants, parabens, phenols, antibacterial agents; perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). In conclusion, Stapleton presented her team’s findings at AAAS as part of the scientific session; “Homes at the Center of Chemical Exposure: Uniting Chemists, Engineers, and Health Scientists.