New academic research shows Organophosphate Esters used in Fire Retardants found in furniture, mattresses and car seats may harm children’s IQ, attention and memory.
These chemicals are being used as replacements for organohalogen flame retardants under the incorrect assumption that they’re safe. This paper concludes with a call to end all nonessential uses of organophosphate esters. The paper states:
“We believe the argument that safety is ensured because typical human exposures are below the reference dose (when known) has not been demonstrated. Also important is that human exposures occur throughout lifetimes to complex mixtures of flame retardants and plasticizers, which may have additive or synergistic effects that are not accounted for in current regulatory assessments (Klose et al. 2021). Such exposures are rapidly increasing on a global scale (Blum et al. 2019). Further, in our experience, assessments often fail to consider risks that occur throughout the life cycle of the chemical and product, and variability in exposures. For example, vulnerable groups at high risk of harm from OPEs but who are not necessarily considered in risk assessments are workers, including people involved in e-waste recycling, and communities living near production sites (Gravel et al. 2020; Wan et al. 2020).
Based on the collective experience of the authors, we propose that reducing the use and harm from OPEs can be achieved by government regulation, by educating consumers to support actions to reduce OPEs, and by educating manufacturers to select safer materials and develop innovative solutions. OPEs have already been recognized as regrettable substitutes for PBDE flame retardants (Blum et al. 2019). Instead of moving from one family of harmful flame retardant chemicals to the next, product manufacturers could instead find innovative ways to reduce both fire hazard and the use of hazardous chemicals (Blum et al. 2019).’