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The Dangers of Flame Retardants in Your Home

According to the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency, approximately 80,000 chemicals have been registered for use in the U.S. with since World War II. The majority of these toxins have not been assessed for human health or environmental effects.

[1] Environmental factors ranging from stress to various chemicals may alter methylation of DNA, which in turn modifies DNA expression. In other words, Chemicals can change the way our genes react and they can activate certain genes, such as genes for certain diseases. [2] According to a study published in Journal of Environmental and Public Health, environmental toxins might lead to obesity or difficulty to lose weight, diabetes, kidney disease, neurological impairments, and cancer. [3]

The issue of toxicity has been an ongoing problem that grows as technology develops. Our exposure to toxins starts at a very young age. In July 2005, a report published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found 287 chemicals in the cord blood of newborn babies, 180 of which are known carcinogens, 217 of which are known neurotoxins, and 208 of which have been shown to cause birth defects or abnormal development in animals. [4]

When thinking about toxins, most of us think of environmental toxins from the air, water, or food, such as pesticides or herbicides. However, there is another group of damaging chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily base and not many people talk about. These chemicals spread into the air and we are breathing them all day and night. Over the last years that I have been teaching and educating about what harms our body, nobody ever mentioned these chemicals. The group I am talking about is the flame retardants, also called Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs). What are PFCs and are they harming our health?

PFCs are added to potentially flammable materials, including textiles and plastics. can be found in your sofa, bed mattress, carpets, clothes, or electronics to reduce the risk of fire, or in your cooking tools to keep food from sticking. Where do spend a third of our life? In bed, where we breathe these chemicals. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and published studies, these chemicals might cause:

  • Harmful changes in the liver, thyroid, and pancreatic function

  • Decreased fertility

  • Dysfunction of your hormonal system and a change in the body’s natural hormones levels

  • An increase in risk of cancer

  • Effecting and toxic to our brain cells. [5]

How to avoid these toxins?

It is important to reduce exposure to these toxins. If you or other members of your family suffer from chronic diseases, it is important to check the levels of these chemicals in their blood or urine. We often use a test called GPL-TOX to measure 172 markers of chemical toxicity. This test provides us with a report of the toxins that are accumulating in your body, as well as the toxins that your body is trying to get rid of.

Here are a few ways to reduce exposure to these toxins:

  • Prevent small children from chewing on products that may contain these chemicals.

  • Repair tears to upholstered furniture.

  • Cover your bed mattress and sofa with Bed Bug, Dust Mite and Water Proof Mattress Zip Cover to reduce exposure.

  • Wipe and vacuum the interior of your car often as seats and dashboards contain flame retardant chemicals.

  • High-efficiency "HEPA-filter" air cleaners may also reduce contaminants bound to small particles.

  • If you’re buying a new couch or mattress, choose one made without fire retardants.

  • Wash your hands and your children’s hands often, especially before eating.

  • Dust frequently with a moist cloth.

  • Use a wet mop or vacuum with a HEPA filter attachment on surfaces, such as floor or furniture.

It is also important to make sure that your liver is properly detoxifying and to have regular bowel movements daily. The detox and elimination process will prevent toxins from accumulating.


  1. Statement of John Stephenson, Director Natural Resources and the Environment. Chemical Regulation. Options for Enhancing the Effectiveness of the Toxic Substances Control Act. Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection,Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives. United States Government Accountability Office, 2009,

  2. M. K. Skinner, M. Manikkam, and C. Guerrero-Bosagna, “Epigenetic transgenerational actions of environmental factors in disease etiology,” Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 214–222, 2010.

  3. Margaret E. Sears and Stephen J. Genuis, “Environmental Determinants of Chronic Disease and Medical Approaches: Recognition, Avoidance, Supportive Therapy, and Detoxification,” Journal of Environmental and Public Health, vol. 2012, Article ID 356798, 15 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/356798

  4. Environmental Working Group. Body Burden: The Pollution in Newborns. July 14, 2005

  5. Slotkin TA, MacKillop EA, Melnick RL, Thayer KA, Seidler FJ. 2008. Developmental neurotoxicity of perfluorinated chemicals modeled in vitro. Environ Health Perspect 116(6):716-722.