Flame retardants are used to delay the time taken for a material to catch fire or to prevent it altogether. Textiles and furniture in public places, protective clothing rubber cables, insulation material and electric and electronic equipment are examples of products that can contain flame retardants.
Certain flame retardants are hazardous to health and the environment, and some are suspected of disrupting the hormones. There are several hundred different flame retardants, of which around 70 contain bromine. Brominated flame retardants are those which are the most controversial. Several of the most dangerous flame retardants are banned in items such as electrical and electronic products.
Flame retardants can leach during manufacture, use and disposal of the products. Brominated flame retardants remain in the natural environment for a long time, accumulate inside organisms and are toxic. They can be transported long distances when airborne. Flame retardants enter our bodies in ways which include food, especially fish. Many flame retardants accumulate in dust indoors, but cleaning and airing indoor spaces reduces the quantities.
Hexabromcyclododecane (HBCDD) and decabromobiphenyl ether (DBDE) are included in the Candidate List of very toxic substances. The substances in the Candidate List may be subject to restricted use or be banned.
Ask in the shop what the product contains so that you can make a conscious choice.