Fight Against Flame Retardants

Protecting Maryland Families and Fire Fighters


Maryland PIRG

Americans have higher levels of these chemicals in their bodies than other developed countries, at levels 10 times higher than those in Europe, 100 times higher than Japan, and 3 times higher than in Canada.

  • Our children deserve a safe and healthy world, not exposure to toxic chemicals.
  • Chemical flame retardants are not an effective way to provide fire safety.
  • Many of the chemical flame retardants used in furniture and children’s products are associated with negative health impacts.
  • Chemical flame retardants are being phased out by major businesses and states are enacting restrictions to push all industry away from them.



Chemical flame retardants are added to many products in our homes, including: toys, fabrics, furniture, and electronics.

These chemicals can escape into the air and dust and then enter our bodies.

Many of the chemicals used to make flame retardants accumulate in the body and are linked to: endocrine disruption, cancer, reduced IQ and poor attention in children, heart disease, and infertility.

Babies and young children are more vulnerable than adults to exposure to toxic flame retardants.

Firefighters are also at increased risk of exposure. Products containing chemical flame retardants produce highly toxic carcinogenic fumes when they burn. 

More than half of all career firefighter line-of-duty deaths are from job-related cancers.


In addition to being toxic, flame retardant chemicals are also ineffective.

Maryland has been a national leader in phasing out some of the most dangerous chemical flame retardants. But new toxic chemicals continue to take their place, leading to an endless regulatory game of whack-a-mole.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has determined that chemical flame retardants don’t provide fire safety and recommends that manufacturers of furniture and children’s products stop using them.

In 2018, California passed a law to ban the sale of furniture and children’s products containing chemical flame retardants by January 2020. 

It’s time for Maryland to join the movement to eliminate these chemicals to protect our children, firefighters, and families. 

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