I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer last year. The news was a really big shock. I have no family history of the disease. It got even worse when the doctor told me the cancer is most likely related to my job and environment as a firefighter. Later I learned that most women with breast cancer have no family or other known risk factors.
Did you know that couches and other common household items including many children’s products contain harmful flame retardant chemicals? I didn’t have any idea about this health hazard until I started doing some research. The Chicago Tribune has extensively reported on flame retardants and about how these chemicals “migrate out of products into household dust ingested by people, especially young children.” They also reveal that there are studies showing “some flame retardants can make smoke from fires even more toxic.” Numerous scientific studies have shown that many flame retardant chemicals can cause cancer, reproductive difficulties, developmental problems and other serious health issues.
I found out that firefighters are at such high risk from dangerous chemicals that women firefighters in my city are diagnosed with breast cancer at 6 times the rate of other women.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has the power to help put an end to unnecessary flame retardants in furniture and other everyday products. But instead of taking strong action, they may be moving to obstruct vital health protections. Please sign my petition to show them that people like us matter! The Commission had a July 1 deadline for comments, and continuing to sign and share will make a real impact on this public health issue.
I know that my children are proud of the work I do, and I strive to be a good role model for them. But I never expected that giving back in this way would expose me to cancer-causing flame retardant chemicals that are threatening my life and the future I’m trying to build for my family.
Fire safety experts are on record testifying that these dangerous flame retardant chemicals do not even effectively prevent fires in furniture and many other products, but huge chemical companies are behind efforts to keep their products in household items despite what’s happening to people like me.
As I have traveled through my cancer journey, I have asked myself, how I can be a catalyst for change? I want my story to help bring about change and slow the rate of cancer and exposure to toxins, not just for firefighters but for our children. The chemical industry is well-funded so I decided to work with the Center for Environmental Health on this campaign because I believe our health is the most important gift we have for ourselves and our families.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission had until July 1 to hear official from you and we sent over 75,000 signatures! Please keep the pressure on and continue to sign to ask that they prioritize public safety over chemical companies’ bottom lines. Tell them to put a stop to dangerous flame retardant chemicals.
I am concerned to hear that the CPSC may be creating a flammability standard that may lead to the use of more flame retardant chemicals in the nation’s furniture and will undermine the approach that California has proposed. Under the new California standard (TB 117-2013), companies will soon be able to make products with improved fire safety and without harmful flame retardants. CPSC must not take an approach that gets in the way of this long-sought change for our children’s and families’ health. I urge the CPCS to implement your 2008 draft standard or the new California standard (TB 117-2013) NOW and join with California on researching other fire safety approaches that can provide greater fire safety without the use of toxic chemicals.