Government chemical advisers highlight flame retardant risks

Experts in chemical toxicity have highlighted how exposure to brominated and organophosphate-based flame retardants pose a threat to public health, particularly for children.

The annual report for 2017 of the advisory Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT), was produced in October but left unpublished on DEFRA’s website until this week. It notes that there are “high levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the diet of young children”.

“Infants can be exposed to such chemicals through their presence in breast milk as well as other foods, and in dust,” the report notes. Dust in UK homes has the highest concentrations of the chemicals found anywhere in the world, associated with the discredited Furniture Regulations, which have been found to impede rather than promote fire safety.

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