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Halogenated Flame Retardants


Flame retardants are added to many building materials and furnishings, of natural and man-made origin, to meet fire safety regulations. The most toxic class of flame retardants, halogenated flame retardants, migrate out of products and pose health hazards to building occupants.


Recent revelations in to corrupt influences on furniture flame test regulations, the toxicity of the products necessary to comply with the regulations, and the inadequacy of these products to reduce fire risk has led to a revised set of standards for furniture in California. All eyes are on the manufacturing community to see how and when new standards and public awareness will lead to the availability of products with reduced toxicity concerns.


Materials and products which we regularly specify which can contain flame retardants include:


• Upholstered furniture

• Textiles

• Upholstery foam

• Rigid and spray foam insulation

• Wood and wood products

• Cable jackets

• Intumescent paint

• 3Form and wall protection specialties


What Can I Do On My Project?


Request Health Product Declarations (HPD) from product vendors and manufacturers.
An HPD identifies health hazards associated with product ingredients.


Ask insulation, furniture and fabric product manufacturers about Halogenated Flame Retardants.
Ask whether their products comply with relevant regulations by using a minimum amount of flame retardants and avoiding the most toxic flame retardants.


Avoid products which contain flame retardants when possible.




• IInhalation or ingestion of dust contaminated by flame retardants which have migrated out of consumer products and building materials.


• Exposure can be prenatal and through breastfeeding, via mother’s ingestion. Babies (always with hands to mouth) and young children are most vulnerable.


• Because halogenated flame retardants bio-accumulate, and have been detected in meat and dairy products, exposure from diet is also a concern.


Health Impacts


• Developmental neurotoxin linked to hyperactivity, decreased attention, motor functioning and IQ.


• Flame retardants are endocrine disruptors linked to obesity, diabetes, early puberty and ability to become pregnant.


• Associated with cancer.

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