Reduce Your Family’s Exposure to Deca (a flame retardant)

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(This post is part of this month’s Green Moms Carnival, where the focus is reducing exposure to toxins in the home. Check out Groovy Green Livin for the full carnival coming next week!)

Last year I participated in Vermont’s first body burden study, and after 10 viles of blood, some hair and urine, I learned I had the highest rate of Deca in the study. I immediately worried about my two young daughters, and their exposure to this toxic chemical.
What is Deca?

Deca is a flame retardant chemical used in electronics, furniture, and mattresses. According to the Environmental Working Group, “low doses of these PBDEs could disrupt the thyroid hormone balance and interfere with neurodevelopment in laboratory animals.”

And according to the body burden report, Deca can cause, “reproductive disorders, cancer, liver damage, impaired learning, and thyroid dysfunction.”

Vermont banned the manufacture and sale of Deca effective in 2011, which is great, but it is too late for me, I’m already full of it.

Here are a few ways I plan to reduce my family’s exposure to Deca:

· Vacuum regularly with a HEPA filter vacuum. Consumer reports rated HEPA filter vacuums and the information can be found here at (for subscribers). Be sure to vacuum in areas of potential PBDE dust, such as behind TVs, around couches and under the bed.

· When buying electronics, especially computers, opt for companies who do not use PBDEs. There are several TV and electronic manufacturers who now don’t use them, such Apple, Dell, Sony, Sharp, Samsung, Panasonic, Lenovo, Phillips, LG Electronics, Toshiba Personal Computing and Hewlett Packard. When buying a computer, buy one from a company that is the best for indoor environmental health, such as Apple, who phased out PBDEs years ago and uses no PVC or mercury in their electronics.

· And when buying furniture, ask if the foam contains PBDE. IKEA phased out bromated flame-retardants from all their furniture and mattresses and should be a safer bet. The best choice is organic mattresses and furniture made from natural materials such as wool and organic cotton.

· Consider buying an air filter. The toxic dust that settles can be vacuumed up, but the airborne dust remains. Consider buying an air filter with an allergenic filter to catch the most possible toxins from the air.

Use these tips to reduce your family’s exposures– but we ultimately need outside help to rid our homes of toxic Deca. Work with your state and national leaders to ban the sale and use of Deca in household furniture and appliances. There is no reason that simply living in our homes should be harmful to our health.

For the full report about how to reduce your family’s exposure to flame retardants and other toxins, subscribe to the Non-Toxic Kids newsletter and receive the full article/ebook, The Chemicals in Us:  And What to do About it.  To reduce your family’s exposure to toxins in food and drink containers, check out Eat Non-Toxic: a guide for busy parents.

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