Policy Update

Harmful Flame Retardants Found on 100% of Toddlers in New Study



NCEL Point of Contact


A new study has found potentially toxic flame retardant (FR) chemicals on every mother and child that participated. The research, conducted by the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, analyzed mother-child pairs in New York City and found 100% exposure, with toddlers having higher concentrations than their mothers. FRs have been linked to impaired mental and physical development, along with higher cancer rates in firefighters.

FRs were originally introduced in the 1970s to protect against fire, but studies have shown limited effectiveness compounded by potentially harmful health impacts. Several states have banned specific FR chemicals as a result, and several others have introduced bills in the 2017 session. Please contact NCEL if you would like more information on the issue.


  • You can find more information on the study here.
  • A list of flame retardant legislation so far in 2017 is here.
  • The NCEL website has research and resources on flame retardants here.