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June is Pollination Month!

Source: Pollination Fast Facts :  http://pollinator.org/PDFs/NPW/Pollination%20Fast%20Facts%20(3).pdf

What is pollination?

Pollination is a vital stage in the life cycle of all flowering plants. When pollen is moved within a flower or carried from one flower to another of the same species it leads to fertilization. This transfer of pollen is necessary for healthy and productive native and agricultural ecosystems.

  • About 75% of all flowering plant species need the help of animals to move their heavy pollen grains from plant to plant for fertilization.
  • About 1,000 of all pollinators are vertebrates such as birds, bats, and small mammals.
  • Most pollinators (about 200,000 species) are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, and bees.

 

Why are pollinators important?

Pollinators are often keystone species, meaning that they are critical to an ecosystem. The work of pollinators ensures full harvests of crops and contributes to healthy plants everywhere.

  • An estimated 1/3 of all foods and beverages is delivered by pollinators.
  • In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually.                                                                                                How can we help pollinators?
  • Reduce your impact. Reduce or eliminate your pesticide use, increase green spaces, and minimize urbanization. Pollution and climate change affect pollinators, too!
  • Plant for pollinators. Create pollinator-friendly habitat with native flowering plants that supply pollinators with nectar, pollen, and homes. For information on what to plant in your area, download a free ecoregional guide online at www.pollinator.org.
  • Tell a friend. Educate your neighbors, schools, and community groups about the importance of pollinators. Host a dinner, a pollinated food cook-off or other event and invite your friends.
  • Join the Pollinator Partnership Go to www.pollinator.org and click on “Get Involved.”
  • Be part of a growing community of pollinator supporters like Bee City USA Asheville. There are dozens of local events throughout June, check out the schedule here: http://www.ashevillegreenworks.org/pollination-celebration.html
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Top 10 Reasons to Support Organic

Article Source Link: http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-206

Source: Alan Greene, MD (Organic Trade Association), Bob Scowcroft (Organic Farming Research Foundation), Sylvia Tawse (Fresh Ideas Group)

Top 10 Reasons to Support Organic

1. Reduce The Toxic Load: Keep Chemicals Out of the Air, Water, Soil and our Bodies
Buying organic food promotes a less toxic environment for all living things. With only 0.5 percent of crop and pasture land in organic, according to USDA that leaves 99.5 percent of farm acres in the U.S. at risk of exposure to noxious agricultural chemicals.

Our bodies are the environment so supporting organic agriculture doesn’t just benefit your family, it helps all families live less toxically.

2. Reduce if Not Eliminate Off Farm Pollution
Industrial agriculture doesn’t singularly pollute farmland and farm workers; it also wreaks havoc on the environment downstream. Pesticide drift affects non-farm communities with odorless and invisible poisons. Synthetic fertilizer drifting downstream is the main culprit for dead zones in delicate ocean environments, such as the Gulf of Mexico, where its dead zone is now larger than 22,000 square kilometers, an area larger than New Jersey, according to Science magazine, August, 2002.

3. Protect Future Generations
Before a mother first nurses her newborn, the toxic risk from pesticides has already begun. Studies show that infants are exposed to hundreds of harmful chemicals in utero. In fact, our nation is now reaping the results of four generations of exposure to agricultural and industrial chemicals, whose safety was deemed on adult tolerance levels, not on children’s. According to the National Academy of Science, “neurologic and behavioral effects may result from low-level exposure to pesticides.” Numerous studies show that pesticides can adversely affect the nervous system, increase the risk of cancer, and decrease fertility.

4. Build Healthy Soil
Mono-cropping and chemical fertilizer dependency has taken a toll with a loss of top soil estimated at a cost of $40 billion per year in the U.S., according to David Pimental of Cornell University. Add to this an equally disturbing loss of micro nutrients and minerals in fruits and vegetables. Feeding the soil with organic matter instead of ammonia and other synthetic fertilizers has proven to increase nutrients in produce, with higher levels of vitamins and minerals found in organic food, according to the 2005 study, “Elevating Antioxidant levels in food through organic farming and food processing,” Organic Center State of Science Review (1.05)

5. Taste Better and Truer Flavor
Scientists now know what we eaters have known all along: organic food often tastes better. It makes sense that strawberries taste yummier when raised in harmony with nature, but researchers at Washington State University just proved this as fact in lab taste trials where the organic berries were consistently judged as sweeter. Plus, new research verifies that some organic produce is often lower in nitrates and higher in antioxidants than conventional food. Let the organic feasting begin!

6. Assist Family Farmers of all Sizes
According to Organic Farming Research Foundation, as of 2006 there are approximately 10,000 certified organic producers in the U.S. compared to 2500 to 3,000 tracked in 1994. Measured against the two million farms estimated in the U.S. today, organic is still tiny. Family farms that are certified organic farms have a double economic benefit: they are profitable and they farm in harmony with their surrounding environment. Whether the farm is a 4-acre orchard or a 4,000-acre wheat farm, organic is a beneficial practice that is genuinely family-friendly.

7. Avoid Hasty and Poor Science in Your Food
Cloned food. GMOs and rBGH. Oh my! Interesting how swiftly these food technologies were rushed to market, when organic fought for 13 years to become federal law. Eleven years ago, genetically modified food was not part of our food supply; today an astounding 30 percent of our cropland is planted in GMOs. Organic is the only de facto seal of reassurance against these and other modern, lab-produced additions to our food supply, and the only food term with built in inspections and federal regulatory teeth.

8. Eating with a Sense of Place
Whether it is local fruit, imported coffee or artisan cheese, organic can demonstrate a reverence for the land and its people. No matter the zip code, organic has proven to use less energy (on average, about 30 percent less), is beneficial to soil, water and local habitat, and is safer for the people who harvest our food. Eat more seasonably by supporting your local farmers market while also supporting a global organic economy year round. It will make your taste buds happy.

9. Promote Biodiversity
Visit an organic farm and you’ll notice something: a buzz of animal, bird and insect activity. These organic oases are thriving, diverse habitats. Native plants, birds and hawks return usually after the first season of organic practices; beneficial insects allow for a greater balance, and indigenous animals find these farms a safe haven. As best said by Aldo Leopold, “A good farm must be one where the native flora and fauna have lost acreage without losing their existence.” An organic farm is the equivalent of reforestation. Industrial farms are the equivalent of clear cutting of native habitat with a focus on high farm yields.

10. Celebrate the Culture of Agriculture
Food is a ‘language’ spoken in every culture. Making this language organic allows for an important cultural revolution whereby diversity and biodiversity are embraced and chemical toxins and environmental harm are radically reduced, if not eliminated. The simple act of saving one heirloom seed from extinction, for example, is an act of biological and cultural conservation. Organic is not necessarily the most efficient farming system in the short run. It is slower, harder, more complex and more labor-intensive. But for the sake of culture everywhere, from permaculture to human culture, organic should be celebrated at every table.

Choose to support something worth believing in for your health and the health of the planet.

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What is BPA & Why Should We Care?

BPA is short for Bisphenol A.
Amid overwhelming agreement across the political spectrum that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 does not adequately protect Americans from toxic chemicals, Congress passed legislation to address TSCA’s many shortcomings. We believe that, to be effective, the new legislation must rapidly reduce or eliminate human exposure to the most harmful chemicals—particularly those linked to causing cancer, damaging developing fetuses, or harming the reproductive or nervous system.

We want the federal government to take action on chemicals already known to cause harm, like bisphenol A (BPA)[1].

Chemical summary: BPA at a glance

BPA is a very common chemical found in plastics, food and beverage can linings, and other consumer products. BPA is known to mimic estrogen and, in animal studies, researchers have linked developmental exposure to BPA to reproductive harm, increased cancer susceptibility, and abnomalities in brain development and fat metabolism. There are alternatives to BPA, but manufacturers are not required to use them. In fact, current law does not require manufacturers to disclose whether or not their product contains BPA—leaving consumers in the dark. Dozens of states and municipalities have already passed or are considering legislation to ban BPA from certain products, yet TSCA severely limits federal action. The time has come for Congress to expand public protection from BPA ad other dangerous chemicals by passing strong new legislation to overhaul TSCA.

BPA is used in many consumer products

The U.S. produced more than two billion pounds of BPA in 2004. BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastics, which are commonly used in consumer products including baby bottles, sippy cups, and reusable water bottles. Epoxy resins used to coat metal food and beverage cans, including beer and soda cans, are another major use of BPA. BPA also is used in the production of other plastics, including those used for medical devices, for industrial applications (such as adhesives and paints), and in the production of flame retardants and thermal paper (such as those used in cash register receipts). Some polymers used in dental sealants and tooth coatings also contain BPA.

BPA exposure is common.

The FDA and the National Institutes of Health state that the primary exposure source for most people is food and beverages contaminated with BPA. BPA has been detected in infant formula, canned food, and canned beverages. Over 90 percent of people in the United States carry BPA residues in their bodies. The human body breaks down and excretes BPA within a few days, so these consistent measurements in humans mean that we are taking in BPA as fast as our bodies can get rid of it. BPA also has been measured in breast milk, amniotic fluid, and follicular fluid; providing evidence that the developing fetus and infant also are exposed. Premature infants in neonatal intensive care units undergoing treatments were found to have 10 times higher BPA levels than seen in the general public, presumably as a result of BPA leaching from plastic components of medical care devices.

BPA is associated with harmful health effects.

BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical that mimics estrogen, the female sex hormone essential for the development and function of reproductive organs. BPA may also interfere with thyroid hormone, which is important for development of the brain and nervous system. Researchers have linked interference with the action of natural hormones to harmful health effects.

Laboratory animal experiments find that for doses within the range of human exposures, fetal exposure to BPA is linked to developmental and reproductive harm including earlier onset of puberty, increased susceptibility to breast and prostate cancer, and changes in gender-specific behavior caused by altered brain development.

BPA also has been associated with miscarriages and infertility, abnormal chromosomes, abnormalities in fat metabolism, and the development of insulin resistance. In humans, BPA exposure has been linked to miscarriage, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, heart disease, and alterations in toddler behavior.

Evaluations by federal agencies

The U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) has expressed “some concern” that BPA exposure in fetuses, infants, and children may increase the risk for neurodevelopmental harm and prostate cancer. NTP noted that “the possibility that Bisphenol A may alter human development cannot be dismissed.”

BPA has been approved as a food additive by the FDA since the 1950s. The most recent FDA re-evaluation concluded that current levels of exposure are “safe,” but relied on studies funded by the cheical industry and was sharply criticized by the FDA’s own scientific board of advisors for being inconsistent with the available scientific evidence. After a lengthy delay, FDA announced in January 2010 that it agreed with NTP’s scientific assessment of BPA, but stopped short of regulating the chemical in our food supply.

In 2010, EPA issued an “action plan” to address BPA under its existing limited authority under TSCA, which also does not call for any immediate regulation of the chemical.

Other countries, some states and regions have taken action

The Canadian Ministry of Health has determined BPA is a “chemical of concern” and has banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and is restricting use in formula cans. Norway, Denmark, and France have taken measures to limit the use of BPA, especially in children’s products.

Several counties in New York, the city of Chicago, Illinois, and the states of Connecticut, Minnesota, Maryland, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin have banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups. In addition to banning BPA from these products, Connecticut and Vermont have banned BPA from infant formula and baby food jars, as well as reusable food and beverage containers. Several other states are considering similar bans. In all, over 30 states and municipalities intrduced legislation in 2009 to ban or limit exposure to BPA. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has issued a public health advisory on BPA which advises pregnant women, nursing mothers and parents of children under the age of two to avoid the use of products that contain BPA.

Maine has listed BPA as a “chemical of high concern” for being an endocrine disruptor and developmental toxicant under its law on Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products.

 

This fact sheet was prepared by Dr. Sarah Janssen, M.D., Ph.D, MPH in March of 2010. The following people reviewed it: Janet Nudelman and Nancy Evans, Breast Cancer Fund; Dr. Caroline Baier-Anderson, formerly of the Environmental Defense Fund, Dr. Tracey Woodruff, University of California, San Francisco.

Source: http://saferchemicals.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/congressional-action-needed-on-a-chemical-of-high-concern-bisphenol-a-bpa/

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Free Infant & Child Healthy Sleep Habit Seminar This Saturday!

 

Join us for a free class about how to develop and maintain healthy sleeping habits for infants and children!

This seminar will be held by Kim Rogers, Certified Infant and Child Sleep Specialist and founder of Sleeping Well Consulting, LLC.

“My passion is helping parents develop a clear plan for solving their child’s sleep issues, once and for all.” – Kim Rogers

Her classes are always educational and fun. She typically charges for her sleep seminars, so don’t miss this great opportunity to hear her speak for free!

When: Saturday May 13, 2017 from 2-3:30pm

Where: Nest Organics 51 N. Lexington Ave. Asheville, NC 28801

*Sign-Up by emailing us at nestorganics@gmail.com or find us on Facebook and register under our Event page*

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Treat Your Mother to Something Special this Year!

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14!

It is time to celebrate the woman who brought you into this world, as well as the other special mamas in your life. Show them some love by giving them something special! We have dozens of unique items perfect for gifting, many of them made locally.

ALL ORGANIC LOUNGEWEAR IS 20% OFF until Mother’s Day!!! 

Super soft robes & nightgowns are perfect for lounging in day or night.

We have cards, handmade soaps, beauty products, jewelry, tea towels, leather bags, wallets, journals, aprons, pottery, gift cards, housewares & more to choose from!

 

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5 Ways to Reduce Toxic Exposures in Your Home

By Jane Tavyev Asher, M.D., Child Neurologist, Guest Blogger

MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2017
If you have small children in the house, are pregnant or are trying to conceive – or simply want to stay healthy – you are probably looking for ways to avoid toxic chemicals at home and outdoors. Harmful pollutants that can increase the risk of cancer and damage your developing child’s IQ can lurk in household dust, leach out of plastic containers and even contaminate tap water.

Here are five top tips to reduce toxic exposures and protect your family’s health.

1) Filter your water

The number one way to reduce toxic exposures in your home is to have a good water filter.

From washing kale, to cooking quinoa, to basic hydration, water is everywhere!

With the recent lead contamination crisis in Flint, Mich., and other communities, as well as the relaxing of regulations on pesticides and industrial toxins that run off into our water supplies, we can predict a huge rise in exposure to all kinds of toxic chemicals.

EWG has a great water filter guide so you can find the right one to fit your budget.

2) Stop using plastic bottles

Plastic bottles are really the ultimate lose-lose situation. Bad for you, bad for the environment.

First there was bisphenol A, or BPA. It’s an endocrine disruptor extraordinaire. Leaching of the chemical is worse when heated – whether that is in the microwave or your car in the Texas heat.

Then came BPA-free. So full of promise. But soon we learned BPA-free plastics contain other additives that are as bad as BPA!

I could go on about the evils of the plastic bottle and talk forever about its enormous carbon footprint, which hurts the environment and increases our dependence on fossil fuels.

There are rare exceptions when you can’t avoid plastic containers, most ironically for breast pumps. But for daily use, tote your own filtered water around in a glass or stainless steel bottle.

EWG has tips for finding safer, non-plastic alternatives.

3) Get a vacuum with a HEPA filter

Sofas are loaded with flame retardants, household items such as shower curtains emit VOCs, and plastics leach phthalates. Replacing everything immediately might not go with the decor or your budget.

As an immediate solution, you can vacuum with a HEPA filter to get contaminants out of your house, while avoiding inhaling toxic chemicals.

4) Wash your hands before eating

It’s not just about the germs!

There are many chemicals that don’t belong in your body, such as heavy metals that damage the brain and phthalates added to plastics to keep them soft.

You can’t avoid touching everything, but you sure can try to keep it from getting into your mouth.

No sink nearby? The Neurotic Neurologist suggests pouring some water from your water bottle onto your hands, and rubbing vigorously with a napkin.

Avoid hand sanitizer before meals, since it can leave your hands coated with something you don’t necessarily want to be eating.

5) Take shoes off in the house

Your shoes bring in contaminated dust from nearby construction, pesticides recently sprayed near public parks, and bacteria and viruses. In the house, babies may lick the floor, crawl on the floor and put their fingers into their mouths, while older kids find floor-blueberries to be the most delicious of all.

Thankfully, you are not left alone to figure all of this out. Environmental Working Group is ramping up its work just as the federal government is backing off from protecting children’s health. Click link below to read more:

Source: http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2017/04/5-ways-reduce-toxic-exposures-your-home

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The Dirty Dozen 2017

The 2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Each year, the Environmental Working Group analyzes the pesticides on 48 popular produce items and comes up with what is know as the DIRTY DOZEN (The top 12 produce items that you should always buy organic): 

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches 
  6. Cherries
  7. Pears
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet bell peppers
  12. Potatoes

To see the entire list or to read more, click below.

Source: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php

 

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Cosmetics and Your Health

Why this matters – Cosmetics and Your Health

By: The Environmental Working Group

Article Source: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/2011/04/12/why-this-matters/

How many personal care products do you use in a day? According to our survey of 2300 people, on average, respondents use nine products daily. These contain 126 unique ingredients. One man in 100 and fully 25 percent of women surveyed apply 15 or more products each day.

Your grooming ritual probably includes shampoo, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, hair conditioner, lip balm, sunscreen, body lotion, shaving products if you’re a man, and makeup if you are a woman.

And what about your children? Sunscreen, diaper cream, shampoo and lotion are common kids’ products.

Most people use cosmetics and other personal care items without a second thought, believing that the government oversees their safety. Not so. No health studies or pre-market testing are required for these products.

Americans’ frequent exposures to cosmetics and personal care products raise questions about the potential health risks from the myriad of unassessed ingredients in them. These ingredients migrate into the bodies of nearly every American.

For instance, in August 2005, scientists from the University of Rochester reported that prenatal exposure to phthalates — chemicals found in personal care products and other consumer products — could cause the reproductive organs of male infants to develop abnormally (Swan 2005).

Studies have shown again and again that hormone systems of wildlife are thrown in disarray by chemicals from personal care products that rinse down drains and into rivers (NIEHS 2010).

At the Environmental Working Group (they) have researched and advocated personal care product safety for eight years and consider this issue an integral part of (their) work to strengthen the system of public health protections from industrial chemicals. Here’s why:

Personal care products are manufactured with 10,500 unique chemical ingredients, some of which are known or suspected carcinogens, toxic to the reproductive system or known to disrupt the endocrine system. Though some companies make products that are safe to eat, others choose to use dangerous ingredients like coal tar and formaldehyde, both human carcinogens, and lead acetate, a developmental toxin.

No premarket safety testing is required for the industrial chemicals that go into personal care products or the chemical industry as a whole. According to the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the federal Food and Drug Administration, “…a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.” (FDA 2012) The FDA does no systematic reviews of safety, instead authorizing the cosmetics industry to self-police ingredient safety through its Cosmetics Ingredient Review panel. Over its 36 years, this industry panel has rejected only 11 ingredients as unsafe in cosmetics (CIR 2012). By contrast, the European Union has banned hundreds of chemicals in cosmetics (European Commission 2012).

When risky chemicals are used in cosmetics, the stakes are high. These are not trace contaminants that may be measured in parts-per-million or even parts-per-billion in food or water. They are substantial components of the product, just as flour is a primary ingredient in bread.

Cosmetic ingredients do not remain on the surface of the skin. They are designed to penetrate, and they do. Scientists have found many common cosmetic ingredients in human tissues, including phthalates in urine, preservatives called parabens in breast tumor tissue and persistent fragrance components in human fat. Do the concentrations at which they are typically found pose risks? For the most part, those studies have not been done. But a small but growing number of studies serve as scientific red flags (Swan 2005, Sathyanarayana 2008, Swan 2010).

We carry 100% Pure natural & organic makeup here at Nest Organics!

To learn about the safety of ingredients in personal care products, EWG has compiled an electronic database of ingredient labels for body care products and cross-linked these ingredients with large databases describing chemical toxicity and government determinations. The database also contains information about cosmetics ingredient restrictions in Canada, Japan and the European Union.

We consider the prevalence of possibly dangerous chemicals in personal care products cause for concern, and action! Much study remains to be done on exposure levels and health risks. But what we do know shows that such study — and direct consumer action to avoid known toxic ingredients — is essential.

What are the limits of EWG’s Skin Deep? Skin Deep’s product ratings are based on the known hazards associated with ingredients listed on labels. These ratings represent EWG’s best effort to present solid information on cosmetic safety. But the answers are not as clear as we would like. Due to the weakness of the FDA’s cosmetics rules, many products with “green” ratings contain ingredients that have not been tested. These products appear to be free of ingredients that we know or suspect to present health hazards. But absence of evidence is not proof of safety. There may be chemical hazards that scientists have yet to identify. In cases where data are lacking, a “limited data” or “no data” rating is shown alongside the green hazard score. 

To read the complete article or to access the EWG’s Skin Deep database, click belowhttp://www.ewg.org/skindeep/2011/04/12/why-this-matters/

We are happy to provide natural, organic bath and body products as well as 100% Pure brand makeup, all of which is cruelty-free, free of harmful chemicals, additives, preservatives, & toxins!

– Nest Organics

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Flame Retardant Roulette: Swapping One Toxic Compound for Another

Source: http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2017/02/flame-retardant-roulette-swapping-one-toxic-compound-another

Flame Retardant Roulette: Swapping One Toxic Compound for Another
By Olga Naidenko Ph.D., Senior Science Advisor for Children’s Environmental Health and Sonya Lunder, Senior Analyst

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2017
For decades, Americans have been needlessly exposed to chemical flame retardants – which have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption and other health effects – all because of a well intentioned but ultimately misguided California regulation from 1975.

This regulation on furniture flammability led manufacturers to add large amounts of flame retardant chemicals to polyurethane foam cushioning. The size of the California market prompted manufacturers to add flame retardants to foam products sold nationwide, including furniture, carpet padding, baby car seats and other baby products.

As research found flame retardant chemicals building up in people’s bodies, a pernicious circle began: scientists and public health officials sounded the alarm and initiated phaseouts of flame retardants known to harm human health and the environment, and manufacturers quietly replaced those chemicals with new ones that had not yet been scrutinized.

But subsequent investigations by EWG and other researchers showed that these replacement chemicals are often as problematic as the original flame retardants that were removed. The extent of this trend was not clear until scientists examined biomonitoring studies conducted over time and found a major increase in Americans’ exposure to a cancer-causing flame retardant, called TDCIPP, or chlorinated Tris, over the past decade.

A newly published study led by Duke University scientists, with key contributions from researchers at EWG and six other universities, found a dramatic increase in Americans’ exposures to chlorinated Tris. This chemical, which causes liver, kidney and testicular tumors in laboratory animals, was removed from children’s pajamas in the 1970s following an outcry from public health advocates. But manufacturers added it to many household products without informing consumers.

According to the new study, between 2010 and 2015, Tris concentrations in children increased nearly fourfold. Duke and EWG previously reported that children also have chlorinated Tris and other flame retardants in their bodies at levels three to five times greater than those in their mothers.

In 2003, EWG analyzed breast milk samples from 20 first-time mothers to measure concentrations of brominated flame retardants known as PBDEs. We detected these chemicals in every study participant. This and other studies pushed the Environmental Protection Agency and manufacturers to phase out use of PBDEs. But chemical companies substituted Tris for PBDEs, and Americans’ exposures to these replacement chemicals has increased dramatically.

Like PBDEs, Tris has been added to many types of foam furniture to slow the spread of fire, despite extensive research showing it is toxic. California state scientists now classify TDCIPP as a chemical known to cause cancer, and data suggest it also damages the human nervous system. Adding insult to injury, the state of California examined fire data and concluded that adding flame retardants to foam does very little, if anything, to prevent furniture fires from spreading.

Over the past decade the California rules have changed and many manufacturers have voluntarily removed all flame retardants from foam in couches, easy chairs, office furniture and baby products. But they are still common in older foam furniture, automobile seats and baby items. They can also be found in new baby car seats, automobile seats and foam used in gymnastics pits.

The key finding of the new study is that Tris concentrations in American adults increased 15-fold between 2002 and 2015. In effect, all Americans today are at risk of exposure to this flame retardant. The study also found a significant increase in exposures to a second hormone-disrupting flame retardant, triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP.

TPHP shows up in an array of products, from furniture containing foam to nail polish. In 2015 a Duke-EWG study showed TPHP exposures went up sevenfold when volunteers painted their fingernails with nail polish containing TPHP. The chemical is a relatively new ingredient in nail products, introduced as a regrettable replacement for phthalates, chemicals that affect the reproductive system.

Again and again, research about the toxicity of chemicals in everyday products shows that scientists and shoppers need to view ingredients in everyday items with suspicion until we have a better understanding of how they may impact our health.

What you can do

Avoid flame retardants in new products. Buy products that don’t include flame retardants – this is easiest when shopping for couches, easy chairs and kids’ products. It is more difficult for car seats and nearly impossible when you buy a car.

Test your furniture. Most older couches and easy chairs contain Tris or other worrisome flame retardants. Duke University will test foam from your furniture for free. You can buy new, flame retardant-free foam if you choose to reupholster older furniture.

Work to ban bad chemicals. The good news is that once banned, chemicals slowly get out of our homes and our bodies. Ten years after PBDEs were taken off the market, scientists found that we have fewer of them in our bodies. States are leading the charge to protect citizens from the risks of Tris in consumer products. Five states have already banned Tris in children’s products or furniture, and 15 states are considering bills or policy actions to address the problems posed by flame retardant chemicals.

Work to make new products safer. Many uses of chemical flame retardants are ineffective and unnecessary. Adding them to consumer products doesn’t save us from fires, but poses unknown risks to our health. It isn’t enough to simply ban individual chemicals like Tris and wait for the next disaster. Instead, the federal government should safeguard our health by requiring that new chemicals are fully screened for safety and only used when necessary.

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