How a deadly fabric was made safer through ten thousand burning tests

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When I was a kid, they introduced the flame retardant TRIS to children’s pajamas, and then quickly got rid of it when it was linked to cancer.


TDCPP was removed; but the overall genre of fights around flame retardants is pretty depressing. The chemistry of the effective ones is on the disconcerting side(you know your halogen chemistry is getting pretty zesty when organophosphate esters are being promoted as the safer alternative); and you get all the usual toxicological controversy manufacturing plus cynic heartstring tugging with interested industry trade groups tapping firefighting-related people to testify about how anyone who is concerned about flame retardants probably wants photogenic children to burn alive in their cribs. (an ugly irony given that one of the populations of concern is firefighters; since the halogenated flame retardants tend to have some pretty ugly combustion products when they do eventually get going).

It’s extra depressing when numbers from when smoking was downright ubiquitous and a major cause of upholstery, bedding, and clothing fires get invoked to justify present-day cost benefit analysis of putting flame retardants in things.


See also Derek Lowe: Things I Wont Work With

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Asbestos. Just don’t, you know, breath it in.

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Huh. I always was under the impression that she was bitten by a møøse.

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