flame retardants http://michiganradio.org en Mardi Gras beads may present a health hazard http://michiganradio.org/post/mardi-gras-beads-may-present-health-hazard <p><a href="http://www.nola.com/paradecam/">It’s Mardi Gras time</a>. But there’s a warning for people who want to ‘Let the Good Times Roll’.</p><p></p><p>People will go to great lengths to grab a necklace of Mardi Gras beads. But <a href="http://www.healthystuff.org/release.12052013.beads.php">the Ecology Center</a>’s Jeff Gearhart says they should think twice.</p><p></p><p>The Ann Arbor environmental group tested beads from different sources and found many contained high amounts of highly toxic substances,</p><p></p> Sat, 01 Mar 2014 20:14:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 16662 at http://michiganradio.org Mardi Gras beads may present a health hazard Study links flame retardants to developmental problems in children http://michiganradio.org/post/study-links-flame-retardants-developmental-problems-children <p>Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, are in all kinds of consumer products.&nbsp; We're exposed to these chemicals every day. They're in our couches, our TVs, our cars, our office chairs, the padding beneath our carpets, and the dust in our homes. They're building up in pets, wild animals and fish. They're even in some of the foods we eat.</p><p>Scientists are finding these chemicals in newborn babies, and the breast milk those babies drink.</p><p> Thu, 15 Nov 2012 16:31:01 +0000 Rebecca Williams 9929 at http://michiganradio.org Study links flame retardants to developmental problems in children Flame retardant chemical detected in food http://michiganradio.org/post/flame-retardant-chemical-detected-food <p>A flame retardant chemical that&rsquo;s used in insulation and electrical equipment is showing up in food. It&#39;s called hexabromocyclododecane or HBCD.&nbsp;</p><p>Here&#39;s what the Environmental Protection Agency <a href="http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/actionplans/hbcd.html">says</a> about the chemical:</p><blockquote><p>HBCD is found world-wide in the environment and wildlife. It is also found in human breast milk, adipose tissue, and blood. It bioaccumulates in living organisms and biomagnifies in the food chain. It is persistent in the environment and is transported long distances.</p><p>HBCD is highly toxic to aquatic organisms. It also presents human health concerns based on animal test results indicating potential reproductive, developmental and neurological effects.</p></blockquote><p>Flame retardant chemicals are used in hundreds of consumer products. Certain kinds of these chemicals leach out of our couches, our TVs, our carpet padding and many other things in our homes. They&#39;ve been found in household dust and in food, and they&#39;re getting into our bodies.</p><p>Linda Birnbaum is the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Toxicology Program.</p><p>She&rsquo;s a senior author of a <a href="http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1204993">study out today</a> in the journal <em>Environmental Health Perspectives</em> and I spoke with her for today&#39;s Environment Report.&nbsp; For the study, the team purchased 36 samples of foods common in American diets from Dallas, Texas supermarkets, including peanut butter, poultry, fish and beef.&nbsp; HBCD was detected in 15 of the samples.</p><p>&quot;We primarily found it in fatty foods of animal origin, so fatty animal products. This is a chemical that loves to be in the fat, and that&rsquo;s where we&rsquo;re finding it.&quot;</p><p><strong>Williams</strong>: &quot;Now, were the levels you found high enough to be of concern?&quot;</p><p><strong>Birnbaum</strong>: &quot;The levels are very, very low. I would call this micro-contamination. In our 2010 study where we looked at the total presence of this chemical, at that point we estimated that the daily intake was about 1,000 fold lower than what is believed to be a safe dose.&quot;</p><p>HBCD is showing up in people&#39;s bodies. The study states that food &quot;may be a substantial contributor to the elevated α-HBCD levels observed in humans.&quot;</p><p> Thu, 31 May 2012 14:40:45 +0000 Rebecca Williams 7690 at http://michiganradio.org Flame retardant chemical detected in food Flame retardant chemicals show up in air around Great Lakes region http://michiganradio.org/post/flame-retardant-chemicals-show-air-around-great-lakes-region <p>Researchers at Indiana University have discovered two new kinds of flame retardant chemicals showing up in the air around the Great Lakes. These chemicals are added to polyurethane foam to help keep furniture and baby products from catching on fire.</p><p>They&rsquo;re replacing other flame retardants called PBDEs that have been linked to neurological and developmental defects, and fertility and reproductive problems.</p><p>These newer chemicals are called brominated benzylates and brominated phthalates.</p><p>Ron Hites is an author of the <a href="http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es203251f">study</a>. His team found the chemicals in air samples from six sites around the Great Lakes... from Chicago to the remote Eagle Harbor in the Upper Peninsula. But he says it&rsquo;s not clear yet what this might mean.</p><p>&ldquo;We have very limited toxicology and virtually no information on ecological effects.&rdquo;</p><p>Hites says one <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/etc.94/full">study</a> suggests these chemicals can cause DNA damage in fish.</p><p>He says the concentrations of the chemicals in the atmosphere appear to be doubling every year or two in the Great Lakes region.</p><p><strong>So how do you know if a product has flame retardants in it?</strong></p><p>Experts say there&#39;s no way to know just by looking at a couch or car seat or baby changing pad whether it has flame retardant chemicals in it, but they say generally, if it has polyurethane foam and a label indicating it meets CA TB 117 (a California flammability standard that companies often meet by adding flame retardant chemicals), there&#39;s a very high probability the product contains flame retardants.</p><p>In a <a href="http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2011/july/science-infants/index.cfm">publication</a> from the National Institutes of Health, Heather Stapleton, PhD says:</p><p>&quot;I don&#39;t think we know much at all about the potential human health effects from exposure to these chemicals. What we do know is that infants are likely receiving more exposure to these chemicals than adults. Therefore, more research is warranted to determine if this exposure is leading to any adverse health effects.&quot;</p><p>The American Chemistry Council <a href="http://flameretardants.americanchemistry.com/FR-Basics">stands by the use of flame retardants</a>.</p><p>But some scientists say these chemicals pose unnecessary risks.&nbsp; The Green Science Policy Institute says many types of halogenated flame retardant chemicals are &quot;persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic.&quot; The group has put out some <a href="http://greensciencepolicy.org/information-consumers">guidelines for consumers</a>.</p><p>You can learn more from The Environment Report&#39;s <a href="http://environmentreport.org/fire_safety.php">five part series on flame retardants</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 15:35:35 +0000 Rebecca Williams 5363 at http://michiganradio.org Study: flame retardant chemicals affect development in frogs http://michiganradio.org/post/study-flame-retardant-chemicals-affect-development-frogs <p>Flame retardant chemicals help keep foam and plastics from catching on fire. They&rsquo;re called PBDEs. That stands for polybrominated diphenyl ethers.</p><p>They&rsquo;re in our couches, our office chairs and the padding under our carpet.</p> Thu, 05 May 2011 14:56:36 +0000 Rebecca Williams 2359 at http://michiganradio.org