WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A new study revealed that toxins from foams found in couches and vinyl flooring are poisoning children, affecting the development of the brain and found to cause cancer and obesity.
- These chemicals, also known as flame-retardants, are mostly used in TVs, furniture and construction materials.
- Children living in homes with vinyl flooring were found by the research to have very high levels of toxin in their blood and urine due to high exposure.
A newly-presented study at the American Association for the Advancement of Science warns how fire-resistant foam found in old and worn out sofas and vinyl flooring that are commonly found in public housing are poisoning children. Such furniture contains toxic chemicals that are linked to multiple conditions and illnesses including neurodevelopmental delays, obesity, hormonal disruption, higher cancer risks and many more.
Flame-retardants, also called PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) are powerful chemicals that are used in electronic devices like TVs, furniture most commonly in couches and rugs, and building materials. These are found to be connected to stunted brain development and reproductive system.
Exposure to household dust is very high especially for kids who are always indoors. Phthalates exposure usually from vinyl flooring and carpets are found to disturb the way we store fat thus, leading to obesity. Mostly used as a PVC plasticizer, benzyl butyl phthalate was linked to respiratory disorders, skin irritations, multiple myeloma and reproductive disorders.
A three-year study of in-home exposures to these chemicals was launched by Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Boston University.
From each of the homes of 203 children, samples of indoor air, indoor dust and foam collected from furniture together with hand wipe samples, urine and blood from each child were analyzed.
Forty-four biomarkers of exposure to various chemicals including phthalates, organophosphate esters, brominated flame retardants, parabens, phenols, antibacterial agents and perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were quantified.
According to study presenter Dr. Heather Stapleton of Duke University, kids in homes with vinyl flooring all over are found to have 15 times higher levels of benzyl butyl phthalate metabolite in their urine compared to those living without vinyl flooring. Further, children in homes with sofa foams containing PBDEs had six times higher PBDE concentrations in their blood.
Despite efforts to curb these chemicals, they are still prevalent, says Stapleton. Evidence of flame retardants in farmed fish was uncovered in a study last year despite PBDE restrictions of the US and EU in fish-farming waters. In 2010, 80 percent of consumer products have tested positive to contain these chemicals, but due to restrictions from regulators, it’s now closer to 20 percent.
Source: Daily Mail