Silent Spring Flame Retardant Study Misleading
Silent Spring Institute flame retardant study overgeneralizes findings
A recently issued a study on ‘New Exposure Biomarkers as Tools For Breast Cancer Epidemiology, Biomonitoring, and Prevention’ by the Silent Spring Institute identifies 17 priority chemicals women should avoid in order to reduce the risk of breast cancer. The press release accompanying the study, which was largely relayed by media, is particularly misleading, as it groups all flame retardants as part of the target for breast cancer prevention. However, researchers only looked at two specific flame retardants. By doing so the Silent Spring Institute extends the analysis of only two molecules to the hundreds of flame retardant chemicals that exist.
The Institute is misleading the public when it recommends not to buy furniture with flame retarded polyurethane foam, even though neither of the analyzed substances are even used to flame retard polyurethane furniture foam. Given that the study didn’t look at any of the flame retardants that are currently used for furniture foam, the Institute’s recommendation regarding flame retardants in furniture is another glaring example of non-science based statements which encourage "chemophobia."
Turning Star shares the opinion of the Bromine Science and Environmental Forum that flame retardants are an effective element to protect people from fires. They can significantly delay ignition in the early stages of a fire when occupants of a building can escape. They are an integral part of the layers of fire safety necessary to protect people from fire injuries and property damage. Additionally, all of the chemicals Turning Star uses in its formulas are non-toxic, and most are free of VOC and halogens.
Recent flame retardant study labels two molecules, not even used to flame retard polyurethane furniture foam, as breast cancer biomarkers.