Toxic Hot Seat
December 8, 2013 7:41 PM Subscribe
posted by beisny (7 comments total)
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covering Part One (out of Six) of the Chicago Tribune investigation
Chemical flame retardants are everywhere. Our furniture. Our homes. Our bodies. Yet they don’t seem to stop fires. They do, however, seem to make us sick.
TOXIC HOT SEAT
is a documentary which takes an in-depth look at a nexus of money, politics and power – and a courageous group of firefighters, mothers, journalists, scientists, politicians and activists as they fight to expose what they assert is a shadowy campaign of deception that has left a toxic legacy in America’s homes and bodies for nearly 40 years.
Set against the backdrop of the award-winning 2012 Chicago Tribune investigative series “Playing with Fire,”
TOXIC HOT SEAT tells an intricate story, detailing how chemical companies that produce flame retardants spend millions of dollars on lobbyists, publicists and influencers, and how Big Tobacco had a hand in convincing fire-safety officials to back a standard that, in effect, requires all furniture to be filled with toxic flame retardants.Nicholas Kristof (NYTIMES, 11/23/13):
RESEARCHERS this summer purchased 42 children’s chairs, sofas and other furniture from major retailers and tested them for toxic flame retardants that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, diminished I.Q.’s and other problems.
In a study released a few days ago, the Center for Environmental Health reported the results: the toxins were found in all but four of the products tested.
“Most parents would never suspect that their children could be exposed to toxic flame-retardant chemicals when they sit on a Mickey Mouse couch, but our report shows that children’s foam furniture can carry hidden health hazards,” a co-author of the study, Carolyn Cox, said in releasing the report.
The Story Behind ‘Playing With Fire’
"The typical American baby is born with the highest recorded concentration of flame-retardant chemicals of infants anywhere in the world," Callahan said. "Our bodies will retain the chemicals … [and] we pass them onto our kids."
The law requiring flame-retardant chemicals has been in place since 1975, and efforts to change it have always failed. Callahan and Roe found that a group called Citizens for Fire Safety was one of the biggest opponents of change in the law and had been paying for Heimbach to appear as a witness at hearings. But while Citizens for Fire Safety presented itself as a grassroots public interest group, it was actually funded by the three largest chemical manufacturers in the U.S.
After the series was published in May 2012, the group was shut down.