Flame-retardants are being used in household furniture all over the US because of untrue testimonials coming from a professor and head of a burn center who is likely receiving funds from big chemical companies.
Manufacturers of fire retardants rely on questionable testimony, front groups to push standards that boost demand for their toxic - and ineffective - products.
Excerpt from the article:
[Professor Heimbach's] testimony, the Tribune found, is part of a decades-long campaign of deception that has loaded the furniture and electronics in American homes with pounds of toxic chemicals linked to cancer, neurological deficits, developmental problems and impaired fertility.
The tactics started with Big Tobacco, which wanted to shift focus away from cigarettes as the cause of fire deaths, and continued as chemical companies worked to preserve a lucrative market for their products, according to a Tribune review of thousands of government, scientific and internal industry documents.
These powerful industries distorted science in ways that overstated the benefits of the chemicals, created a phony consumer watchdog group that stoked the public's fear of fire and helped organize and steer an association of top fire officials that spent more than a decade campaigning for their cause.
Today, scientists know that some flame retardants escape from household products and settle in dust. That's why toddlers, who play on the floor and put things in their mouths, generally have far higher levels of these chemicals in their bodies than their parents.
Read the whole article here: http://www.chicagotribune.com