Dr Oz: Are There Toxic Flame Retardants in Your Home?
Dr. Oz is discussing the scary truth about flame retardant chemicals in your furniture and how they could be causing you and your family more harm than good. He talked to filmmakers Jamie Redford and Kirby Walker who worked on the Toxic Hot Seat film that currently airs on HBO. They say it has been many years since the United States has made any changes to chemical guidelines and there are thousands of unchecked chemicals being used to manufacture the products we buy for our home.
Jamie Redford believes the manufacturers should be held accountable for the safety of the things they produce, especially those marketed toward women and kids. Kirby Walker shared that she was horrified to see TB117 labels on all her furniture, which left her feeling fooled, which is why she got involved in making Toxic Hot Seat.
Dr Oz: How to Tell if Your Furniture is Toxic
The Toxic Hot Seat filmmakers created a test where they set different fabrics on fire. One of the fabrics contained flame retardants and the other did not, but neither one stood up to heat of a real fire and what is more scary is that the fabric could be causing more of a problem than preventing it.
Here is how to tell if the furniture in your home is unsafe:
Look to see if the label on your furniture lists polyurethane foam as one of the materials and look for a tag that states:
“This article meets the flammability requirements of California Bureau of Home Furnishings Technical Bulletin 117.”
Dr Oz: Flame Retardants & EPA Guidelines
Steve Risotto from the American Chemistry Council says there is proof that chemicals used in flame retardants do work to defend against fires or slow down their ability to spread, which gives you up to three or four extra minutes to escape a fire in your home. Risotto added that the companies test the chemicals they use and those chemicals are monitored by the EPA. He went on to say that consumers can learn more information about the chemicals and the harm they could cause.
Dr Oz is not sure if it is worth the risk to our long-term health even if flame retardants do work to prevent or slow the spread of a fire. Risotto assured him that the most harmful products are no longer being used because new chemicals are created on a regular basis.
Dr Oz: Ways to Reduce Flame Retardant Exposure
Even though Dr Oz still has serious concerns about the health risks posed by chemicals in flame retardants, we cannot simply get rid of all the furniture in our home, so he shared ways to reduce your risk from exposure.
- Wash your hands before you eat.
- Pick furniture that contains safer materials such as wool, down, cotton or polyester fiberfill.
- Dust (damp), mop & vacuum, using a HEPA filter, often.
Earlier this year California governor Jerry Brown revised his state’s TB113. Starting in 2014, flame retardants will no longer be mandatory in manufactured furniture. Thanks to that change we all have a chance to make healthier choices going forward!