By Dr. Mercola
Unless you live in some remote wilderness, you’re likely being exposed to a wide variety of chemicals on a daily basis that can compromise your health. One class of chemicals that have become ubiquitous in the US is flame retardants.
In the 1970s, the US implemented fire safety standards that led to more and more products adopting the use of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) to meet the stringent regulations.
PBDEs have a molecular structure similar to that of banned PCBs, the latter of which have been linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and impaired fetal brain development.
And, even though certain PBDEs have since been banned in some US states, they still persist in the environment and accumulate in your body. Tests have revealed that as many as 97 percent of all Americans have significant levels of PBDEs in their blood.
Many harmful chemicals also lurk in personal care products that you apply to your body on a daily basis.
A recent article in Environmental Health Perspectives1 discusses the impact of newer flame retardants and the routes by which people are exposed to these hazardous chemicals—which, surprisingly, may include personal care products.
Hand-to-Mouth Exposures in Adults
In 2005, PBDEs used in foam furniture were voluntarily withdrawn from the US market.2 But were they replaced with harmless chemicals? Hardly.
Many PBDEs were replaced by organophosphate flame retardants such as tris phosphate (TDCIPP), and triphenyl phosphate (TPHP), both of which are now used in a wide variety of consumer goods, including furniture, cars seats, carpet padding, and baby products, just to name a few.
According to the featured article:3
“TDCIPP is listed as a human carcinogen under California’s Proposition 65, and a small human study found evidence that exposure to both TDCIPP and TPHP was associated with altered levels of some hormones and lower sperm concentration.
In vitro and animal data have linked TDCIPP to neurotoxicity and both TDCIPP and TPHP to