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DOE Study Finds Harmful PBDE Alternatives in Children’s Products

July 28, 2014

The Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) released a study, Flame Retardants in General Consumer and Children’s Products, assessing the presence of flame retardant chemicals, such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), in general consumer and children’s products.

PBDEs are a class of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) compounds historically used as flame retardants in a wide range of consumer products.

The DOE collected 169 products from 30 retailers in Washington State between August 2012 and August
2013, including seat cushions, mattresses, children’s upholstered furniture, electronics, clothing, and baby carriers. The majority of samples (94%) did not contain PBDEs above a reporting limit of 100 parts per million (ppm), which supports the conclusion that manufacturers have moved away from using PBDEs in products available to Washington State consumers.

However, the study notes that manufacturers have switched from PBDEs to a number of alternatives, which may have environmental and health concerns.