Flame Retardants and Flammability Standards: How Scientific Research Can Inform Policies.
Arlene Blum, PhD, Green Science Policy Institute
Since the 1970’s, flammability standards have led to furniture, baby products, and building insulation being treated with flame retardant chemicals without adequate evaluation of the fire safety benefits of the standards or the potential harm of the chemicals used to meet them. The chemicals migrate from products to people and the environment where they are associated with reproductive, neurological harm, endocrine disruption, and/or cancer. This talk will provide an overview for the session examining how research from disciplines including fire science, biology, toxicology, epidemiology and public health can inform policy and reduce the unneeded use of toxic flame retardant chemicals. Current flammability standards, what is known about the health and environmental effects of flame retardants used to meet them, policy solutions, and the scientist’s role in these will be discussed.