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Flame Retardants – eat, breathe, drink

Flame retardants are chemicals that are applied to materials to prevent the start or slow the growth of fire. They have been used in many consumer and industrial products since the 1970s to decrease the ability of materials to ignite. Today, we eat, breathe and drink flame retardants. LEARN MORE

Harvard University research shows that flame retardants put human health at risk and still don’t prevent fires. Fire-retardant plywood is made by adding a retardant to kiln-dried, untreated plywood using a high-pressure system that completely infuses the wood with the chemicals. The untreated wood is placed in a sealed retort chamber, where the air is removed to create a vacuum.

Flame retardants have been shown to cause neurological damage, hormone disruption, and cancer. 

One of the biggest dangers of some flame retardants is that they bioaccumulate in humans, causing long-term chronic health problems as bodies contain higher and higher levels of these toxic chemicals. New generations of the products have been introduced since concerns were first raised about their safety, effects on the human body, and persistence in the environment.

Fire-retardant chemicals used by the commercial wood-treating industry are limited almost exclusively to:

  • Mono- and diammonium phosphate

  • Ammonium sulfate

  • Borax

  • Boric acid

  • Zinc chloride

It is believed that some use is also made of the liquid ammonium polyphosphates.

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