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The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned consumers, especially pregnant women and young children, to avoid kids’ products, electronics, mattresses, and home furniture that contain certain toxic flame retardants, known as organohalogens. These chemicals are linked to serious human health problems, including cancer, decreased IQ in children, impaired memory, learning deficits, and hormone disruption. The warning follows a previous decision by the agency to move forward with a ban on the chemicals.

But before the ban is in place, here are a few tips to help you reduce your exposure to organohalogen flame retardants.

  1. Check furniture labels. When shopping for furniture, consumers should CHOOSE furniture labeled “CONTAINS NO ADDED FLAME RETARDANTS.”
  2. Check kids’ product labels. Make sure any children’s products you or your childcare provider use are not labeled as meeting the California TB 117 flammability standard (these products likely contain flame retardants in the foam).
  3. Avoid kids’ products made with polyurethane foam.
  4. Dust and wash hands regularly. To reduce exposure from products in your home, cleanliness counts! Wash hands, especially those of young children, often, to keep dust from attaching to food or fingers and being consumed. Regularly wet dust and wet mop to reduce dust, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.


Of course it’s nearly impossible to avoid all organohalogens because in most cases manufacturers aren’t required to disclose their use of chemicals. That’s why getting these chemicals out of products is the best solution to protecting our health and environment from these harmful chemicals.

You can help by joining our campaign to convince policymakers and companies these chemicals have got to go!