The Chemical Industry's Dangerous Game of Whack-a-Mole: Public Health Implications of Chlorinated Tris as a Replacement for Banned Flame Retardants

August 14, 2013
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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As certain flame retardant chemicals are being phased out because of their links to serious health effects, new scientific evidence suggests that the chemicals used to replace them may not be any safer. One of the most common replacements for penta-PBDE (phased out of use in the United States in 2004) is TDCPP, or chlorinated tris. California recognized chlorinated tris as a probable carcinogen in 2011, and recent animal studies have suggested that it is neurotoxic, an endocrine disruptor and a reproductive toxicant. So how is it that a chemical that was banned from baby pajamas decades ago due to health concerns is now widely used in children’s products and foam furniture and that its use is increasing despite emerging evidence suggesting harmful health effects?

On this call hosted by CHE-Alaska, Duke University researcher Dr. Heather Stapleton discussed the rising use of chlorinated tris and new scientific research on its health effects. We were also joined by Laurie Valeriano, executive director of Washington Toxics Coalition and Pamela Miller, executive director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics, who discussed how state legislatures can lead the way for safer chemicals.

Featured Speakers

Heather M. Stapleton, PhD, associate professor of environmental chemistry in the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University. Dr. Stapleton’s experience lies in the fate and transformation of organic contaminants in aquatic systems and indoor environments. Her research focuses on several types of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and brominated flame retardants, with a focus on polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).

Laurie Valeriano, executive director of Washington Toxics Coalition. Ms. Valeriano has worked for Washington Toxics Coalition since 1995 to pass strong environmental health policies at the state level for more than 15 years. During those years she has led successful campaigns to make Washington the first state in the nation to ban the toxic flame retardant deca-BDE and adopt the strongest standards in the nation for toxic chemicals in toys and children’s products.

Pamela Miller, executive director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics.