Many scientists have warned of the dangers of flame retardants. These chemicals, often added to furniture and clothes, have been linked to thyroid problems and other endocrine disorders. Even though the production and use of certain flame retardants has been restricted in North America and the European Union, these poisons are continuing to prove problematic in the environment.
Researchers from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs have found that the chemicals used as flame retardants are present as environmental pollutants at locations around the globe, including remote sites in Indonesia, Nepal and Tasmania.
“(Our) findings illustrate further that flame retardants are ubiquitous pollutants and are found all around the world, not only in biota and humans but also in plants,” says researcher Amina Salamova.
Large concentrations of flame retardants in tree bark and the atmosphere have been found in previous studies of the Great Lakes region, especially urban areas near Chicago and Cleveland, and also at cities in China. Even higher concentrations were found in southern Arkansas and at Niagara Falls, N.Y., near the sites of manufacturing facilities.