Choosing Flames Instead

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In response to yesterday's announcement by several companies that they will undertake a three-year phaseout of the flame-retardant decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE, also known simply as DECA), the EPA's assistant administrator for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, Steve Owens, issued the following statement:

"Though DecaBDE has been used as a flame retardant for years, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has long been concerned about its impact on human health and the environment. Studies have shown that decaBDE persists in the environment, potentially causes cancer, and may impact brain function."

"This is ridiculous," says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. "They're phasing out a lifesaving technology."

"Biomonitoring studies have shown that these flame retardant chemicals are actually persistent, but there's no evidence that they pose any threat to humans," says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. "However, it may perhaps be true that brain function at the EPA has been impacted."

For more information, see ACSH's publication on flame retardants.