Health Speaker Adria Vasil: Even "Good" Chemicals Can Be Hazardous
A recent study conducted by CBC's Marketplace found that the chemical flame retardants found in upholstered furniture actually did very little to prevent house fires. Not only was the amount of retardant used not effective in keeping a fire from spiraling out of control, the chemical actually poses health risks in the event that it catches fire, the study found. When burning, the chemical produces "elevated amounts of carbon monoxide as well as dioxins and furans, toxic chemicals that can cause immune disorders, liver problems, skin lesions and certain types of cancer," the report reads. Further, the chemical can be harmful even when not burning as the retardant can be transferred from the furniture to the air, tainting the home with hazardous fumes that are constantly being ingested in every time someone sits on the furniture. The chemical can also be found in many other household objects from children's toys and TVs to chairs and carpets.
It's cases like this that make Vasil's work even more relevant. She advises people to educate themselves on what materials go into their everyday items. In her books and her lively talks, she shares insights on how to better arm yourself against dangerous chemicals and how to move toward living a greener and healthier life.