Oregon State University: Fire-Retardants possibly linked to children’s behavior

Researchers from Oregon State University found a significant relationship between social behaviors among children and their exposure to widely used flame-retardants.


Many chemicals added to furniture, electronics, and numerous other goods to prevent fires may have unintended developmental consequences for young children, according to a recent study released by Oregon State University.


Their research reported that the children who had more exposure to certain types of the flame retardant were more likely to exhibit “externalizing behaviors such as aggression, defiance, hyperactivity, inattention and bullying,”

The report suggests that the behavioral effects of the organophosphate classes of flame-retardants may be at fault.

From the Oregon study: “Manufacturers began adding flame retardants in 1975, in response to new legislation in California designed to reduce flammability in common household items. The state updated its flammability standards in 2014, and now allows furniture manufacturers to meet the standards without adding flame retardant chemicals to their products, but the chemicals are still widely used and they linger in the indoor environment.”

Past research has shown that flame-retardants are linked to poorer cognitive function in children and potentially to their social and emotional well-being.

In the study, they used wristbands to track your child’s exposure. Their analysis showed that all of the children were exposed to some level of flame retardant. Alarmingly, in this study, Children who had higher exposure rates to flame-retardants showed less responsible behavior and more aggression, defiance, hyperactivity, inattention, and bullying behaviors.

Natalie Geary