Once again flame retardants are found to cause disease

by Dr. Alan Kadish NMD

The exposure to flame retardants, which is all to common in any household in the US, is clearly related to thyroid disorders, especially if your  postmenopausal. There has been a flurry of different bans and changes in the chemicals used to “fire proof” furnishing in our homes, however there are decades of old furnisher in most homes that were treated. The foam cushions were made with a set of chemicals that over time become mixed with the dust we breath and ultimately enter our body, as one exposure.

Best defense is to eliminate the old foam products and substitute newer materials. Many foam shops are well aware of the problem and have the newer untreated foam. When you consider foam also take into consideration that it’s best to use the non-petrochemical based natural foams. The natural foams come in two forms, either dunlap or talalay which tells you how they were made. Typical talalay foam is less dense, so order specific to your needs.

Considering that many organic fibers do a better job at fire proofing than the chemicals you now have a much broader variety of choices.  You can check your current furnisher by looking for the label that indicates if it was made with or without fire retardants. The label known as TB117 should clearly state if the product has the bad chemicals. 

Currently a slew of furniture manufacturers are changing to the non-treated products, but always check the label. Old inventory is still on the shelves and will be for ages. If no tag is present assume the worst….unless the product is so old….read antique that it doesn’t containing foam. In 2015 the labels will now contain a checkbox for either containing or not containing the fire proofing chemicals. (see the picture)

Another helpful approach to minimizing your exposure is to vacuum regularly and use the bags referred to as allergy vacuum  bags to catch more of the materials and not release them into the air was you clean.

Need more information or sources for safe products ?  Give us a call at the Center of Health 541.773.3191



Flame-retardant exposure increases thyroid disease risk in women

High blood levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, a common type of flame retardant, may increase the risk for thyroid problems in women, with the effect more pronounced after menopause, according to study findings published in Environmental Health. 

Joseph G. Allen, MPH, DScassistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and colleagues evaluated data from women participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2004 cycle to determine the link between thyroid disease and PBDE exposures, particularly to BDE 47 (n = 1,396), BDE 99 (n = 1,378), BDE 100 (n = 1,413) and BDE 153 (n = 1,413). During the survey, participants were asked to indicate whether a doctor or health care professional had said the participant had a thyroid disease and whether the participant still had a thyroid problem.

Postmenopausal participants were twice as likely to report ever having a thyroid problem (< .05) and to currently having a thyroid problem (< .1) compared with premenopausal participants. Compared with participants in the lowest quartiles of serum concentrations, participants in the highest quartile of serum concentrations for BDE 47 (OR = 1.48; 95% CI, 1.05-2.09), BDE 99 (OR = 1.78; 95% CI, 1.16-2.75) and BDE 100 (OR = 1.5; 95% CI, 0.97-2.31) had greater odds of currently having a thyroid problem.

When the analysis was restricted to postmenopausal participants, the ORs for participants in the highest exposure category were greater for all PBDE congeners except BDE 153.

“Perhaps the most striking and unique finding in this study is that the odds of having a current thyroid problem associated with PBDEs are so much higher in postmenopausal women,” the researchers wrote. “One hypothesis is that this is related to the change in hormone concentrations in postmenopausal women and the affinity of PBDEs to binding sites for both estrogen and thyroid hormones.” – by Amber Cox

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Dr. Kadish is an unusual physician often referred to as a "doctor detective". His expertise is the evaluation and treatment of complex disorders, typically after other physicians have been stumped, is renowned. He provides care for all family members and has additional training in autistic spectrum disorders and chronic complex diseases.