Quick quiz

Which common household items may contain toxic PBDE flame retardants known to affect human digestive, nervous and reproductive systems?

A) Furniture
B) Carpet Underlay
C) Paint


PBDE’s are Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers and can be found in fabric, upholstery foam, and carpet underlay containing recycled or scrap foam, and can be inhaled as dust after products break down from normal use.

PBDE’s can also be found in the plastics used in cell phones, remote controls, computers, monitors, electronics, and enclosures for electronics. And because of the way they’re mixed into the plastic during manufacturing, rather than chemically altered, means the molecular bonds aren’t as strong as other similar materials, therefore prone to separation and decay.

Remember:  choose building products and furniture carefully and check if the manufacturer has a Declare label. Click for more info on the Declare database and about PBDE’s at the US National Library of Medicine.