I recently read an article about the flame retardant chemicals that are found in many of the typical things we are exposed to on any given day. Our furniture, mattresses, clothing, electronics and even baby toys. When I was a young mom and fire retardants were the big news, I thought to myself, “Wow, good thing they have flame retardant chemicals all over this just in case we have a fire!” I was pretty sure someone was really looking out for us and my children. Truly, wish that were the case. But, a good idea that has the potential of bringing in countless millions of dollars quickly becomes more about the money than about our safety. 

Most disturbing to me are the studies showing our children are suffering the biggest ramifications from these chemicals. One study revealed that greater exposures to flame retardants during pregnancy are associated with lower intelligence in the child. For every ten-fold increase in prenatal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). PBDEs are one of the worst chemical offenders and there was a 3.7 point decline in IQ test scores in children exposed to these chemicals. According to Newsweek magazine who wrote on this subject:

“Exactly how PBDEs cause a decline in intelligence is unknown. However, research increasingly suggests they impair the activity of the endocrine system, the body’s delicate system of hormone-producing glands that controls everything from daily sleep-wake cycles to sexual development. And during pregnancy, the endocrine system has an enormous effect on the development of the fetus’ brain.”

Larry has taught many classes on the body’s endocrine system and how serious the problem is getting with most people! When the thyroid, thymus, adrenal glands and hormones are messed up–that’s a big problem! And, while there’s not just one thing that’s causing this problem, these types of chemicals in our environment are definitely not helping it!

Research also demonstrated that children born to mothers who have more of these flame retardant chemicals in their own body gave birth to babies that grew to have a 4.5 point average decrease in IQ. A study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found these toxic chemicals even in household dust!

“The average level of brominated fire retardants measured in dust from nine homes was more than 4,600 parts per billion (ppb)…in a tenth home where products with fire retardants were recently removed, contained more than 41,000 ppb of brominated fire retardants–twice as high as the maximum level previously reported by a dust study worldwide. Like PCBs, their long-banned chemical relatives, the brominated fire retardants known as PBDEs…are persistent in the environment and bioaccumulative, building up in peoples bodies over a lifetime…In minute doses they and other brominated fire retardants impair attention, learning, memory and behavior in laboratory animals….”

They went on to say that their findings raised concerns that children may ingest significant amounts of toxic fire retardants just from the dust in their homes!! This is crazy. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could clean up and clean out our environment so our children wouldn’t be subjected to these harmful chemicals? Wouldn’t it be grand if we could protect them from every harmful thing that is causing havoc with their immune systems? Most of us have clues that our own endocrine systems are suffering in some way. Doing our best to avoid chemicals with the things we have control over like swapping plastic water bottles for glass bottles is one thing we can do. Or, at least, use plastic bottles that are free of these chemicals (look for a #4 or greater on the bottom in the triangle). Another thing is to strengthen their immune system so it can help fight to keep our children and us healthy.

Getting in critical nutrition will go a long way to help combat the damage! Our food is lacking in good nutrition (that’s an article for another time!), most of the supplements in the marketplace are not real (an article for another time also or search the blog!) so choosing vetted resources is helpful. If you’d like to know what the GRM (the not-for-profit organization we head) has vetted for resources that can meet this need go to: GRMVetted.org and request them.

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