May 10, 2012
Firemaster 550, touted as safe, is the latest in a long line of flame retardants allowed onto the market without thorough study of health risks. By the early 2000s, the flame retardant known as penta had become a villain.
Packed by the pound into couches and other furniture, the chemical was turning up in the blood of babies and in breast milk around the world. The European Union voted to ban penta after researchers linked it to developmental and neurological problems in children, and manufacturers pulled it from the market.