Fire retardants are one those things that sound like a good idea at first. Who wouldn’t want to protect one’s family from the risk of a household fire? But it turns out that fire-retardant chemicals, even the “new” ones, have been linked to toxicity concerns such as cancer and endocrine disruption. They also don’t break down cleanly in landfills once the products treated with them are discarded. If you have no choice but to have furniture or carpeting with these chemicals in your home, use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to clean them. And if you are concerned about chemicals in children’s pajamas or other clothing, choose items made from natural fibers that are naturally fire resistant. Unfortunately, we’ll never be able to steer clear of all the potentially harmful chemicals in our environment—that’s why it is so important to take control where we can!
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