Surge in Human Thyroid Cancer Due to Flame Retardants in Sofas and Mattresses

Cat owners should (must) be concerned about fire retardants in household products. They are incredibly toxic. We can’t see them and we can’t feel any difference to our lifestyle and our health until it is too late. As important is the health of our cats.

Humans have a bad habit of ignoring danger if they can’t see it, smell it or hear it. But it is still there with respect to brominated flame retardants. These are horrible poisons and it is frankly shocking that they are still in products. They are being phased out as far I know but millions of items in homes in the USA and UK and in Europe are impregnated with these toxins.

There is evidence linking the chemicals with thyroid cancer in humans, rates of which have risen by 74% in a decade in the UK according to Cancer Research UK.

The USA was one of the biggest users of brominated fire retardants (PBDEs). There are three kinds: PentaBDEs, OctaBDEs, DecaBDEs. I believe the first two have been phased out. I am not sure about the third. DecaBDE is used in the UK despite warnings years ago by a civil servant to government ministers to try and get them banned. They ignored the warnings.

Terry Edge formerly of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:

“The evidence is clear that flame retardants in our sofas are killing people. They are causing thousands of cancers and other illnesses, with children particularly vulnerable.”

I’d add cats and dogs to those who are vulnerable. The chemicals are released into the air as household dust. The dust enters our bodies and the bodies of cats and dogs and other pets on our food, hands and the paws of pets. People with thyroid cancer had a significantly higher exposure to decaBDE. Pregnant women can pass it on to their unborn baby causing cognitive deficits. DecaDBEs are used in textiles so they may be in the material of the sofa rather than in the foam.

DecaBDE is so damn hazardous that sofas and other items have to be disposed of under carefully controlled conditions: burnt at high temperatures or buried in a waterproof landfill engineered to prevent the toxins leaching out to the ground.

There you have it. I think it is time that cat owners looked at this carefully. DecaBDE can, it seems, cause hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism in cats (and possibly other serious illnesses) and a serious study needs to be carried out. Has any scientist studied a possible link between these diseases and decaBDE? If not it is time to find out.

I have written about this before but this evidence firms things up. It needs to be aired.

4 thoughts on “Surge in Human Thyroid Cancer Due to Flame Retardants in Sofas and Mattresses”

  1. I highly recommend an HBO movie called “Toxic Hot Seat”, directed by Robert Redford’s son; came out a few years back. It documents the story of how a group of committed individuals (including fire fighters who discovered they were getting far more cancers than normal) finally got the US to change its standard so that US sofas no longer need contain flame retardants. The same issue applies here and, most significantly, the same 3 huge flame retardant producing companies are working behind the scenes, bribing officials and setting up fake citizen fire safety groups, etc.

    It’s also worth checking out the Chicago Tribune’s ‘Playing with Fire’ articles on this issue (just Google ‘Chicago Tribune flame retardants’, for which they won the Pulitzer Prize.

    • Thanks Jenny. It is the same old story: immoral businesses not giving a damn about the health of people and pets. I hate them.

  2. DecaBDE is a brominated flame retardant; the worst kind. It was banned in the US a few years ago and is currently a Substance of Very High Concern under REACH (European chemicals legislation). FR companies stopped supplying it to UK furniture manufacturers a few years ago. But they did what they always do: swapped it for a new BFR that they say is safe (just as they said Deca was safe). They also doubled the price, by the way, to cover ‘research and development’.

    Yes, pets are vulnerable too. The Swedes are more aware of this issue than the UK public on the whole. For instance, a best-selling children’s book in Sweden a few years back was called, ‘The Flame Retardant Cat’.

    Your quote from Edge was in today’s Times. What the Times didn’t mention was the fact that Edge’s department proved to the world in 2014 that the flammability test for cover fabrics – which results in high BFR use – doesn’t even work! However, the chemical industry stood to lose a lot of money out of the proposed new test, which would have hugely cut FRs and put right the problems with the current test. So they made sure they scuppered it.

    • Great comment. Love it. And many thanks for plugging the gaps. This is so typical of business in league with government at the expense of people and companion animals. I hate the lot of them.


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