By Dr. Mercola
About 75 percent of California residents have flame-retardant chemicals in their bodies, according to a late 2014 study.1 Many of them had no less than six different kinds, including one (chlorinated tris, or TDCIPP) that was phased out of children’s pajamas in the 1970s.
Also surprising was the discovery of tris-(2-chloroethyl) phosphate, or TCEP, which has never been detected in Americans before. TCEP is a known carcinogen and damages your nervous and reproductive systems.
The study highlighted an important finding, which was that those with the highest levels lived in homes with the highest levels in household dust. This means that flame-retardant chemicals lurking in your home – in your mattress and your couch cushions, for instance – are a primary source of exposure… but it’s not the only one.
Flame Retardants Found in Swimming Pools
It’s known that highly toxic disinfection byproducts (DBPs) form from reactions between pool disinfectants and organic matter, including hair, skin, sweat, dirt, urine and more.
Researchers from Purdue University wondered whether similar reactions occurred between disinfectants like chlorine and other chemicals in the water, such as those from personal care products.
To find out, they first needed to find out what kinds of chemicals are in the water. So they tested water from three indoor swimming pools in the US – two public pools used mostly by college students and one pool located inside a high school. They found 32 different chemicals in the water.2 Of them, three were most common:
TCEP, the carcinogenic flame retardant that’s found in 75 percent of Californians (and probably is equally prevalent in other Americans)
DEET, an active ingredient in insect repellants
It’s unclear just how much flame-retardant and other chemical exposures may be coming from swimming pools, but it deserves a closer look, especially if you spend a lot of time swimming in pools. The study’s lead author noted:3