Based on the results of yet another study involving flame retardant chemicals, scientists from the Silent Spring Institute say most Americans are harboring at least a handful of these toxins in their bodies—including one called TDCIPP that was supposedly phased out in the 1970s and one called TCEP that previously hasn’t been seen in Americans.
Study author Robin Dodson and a team of researchers analyzed urine samples from more than a dozen California residents, looking specifically for six “rarely studied” chemicals with a laundry list of health risks including cancer, neurological disorders, and damage to the nervous and reproductive systems. As you might expect, they found evidence of all six substances.
So how are we being exposed to these dangerous chemicals? Possibly just by sitting on the couch or lying in bed, scientists say, since the flame retardants are most often found in the polyurethane foam used to make furniture (along with other textiles, upholstery, carpet and plastics). Further, high amounts of TCEP and TDCIPP in the body were linked to high levels of the chemicals in household dust, pointing to our homes as a primary exposure source.
“When you sit on your couch, you want to relax, not get exposed to chemicals that may cause cancer,” said Dodson in a recent news release. “Some flame retardants have been targeted for phase out, but unfortunately there are others that have largely been under the radar,” she added.
Dodson and her team recommend purchasing furniture made without flame retardant chemicals, as well as vacuuming with a HEPA filter and frequent hand washing (especially before eating) to reduce exposure to the harmful substances.