On a hot and muggy morning in late June, a dynamic assembly of environmentalists, parents, firefighters, worker’s health advocates, and others piled into Hearing Room 222 of the Massachusetts State House. The issue that brought all these folks together: toxic flame retardants in kid’s products and household furniture.
Flame retardant chemicals have been flying under the radar for decades. Parents, medical professionals, health advocates, legislators, and others tried to nip the flame retardants issue in the bud during the 70’s and 80’s, but a deceptive campaign by the chemical and tobacco industries institutionalized the practice of adding flame retardants to many common household items. Thus, despite research connecting them to cancer, learning and developmental delays in children, and other serious health problems, flame retardants continue to be added in gross amounts to couches, kid’s pajamas, nursing pillows, and many other unlikely items, to this day.