Posts tagged Ecotox
The fiery issue of flame retardants in furniture.

Want to hear something scary?

The average North American spends 90% of their time indoors, and we Canadians can spend up to  98% of our time  indoors during the winter. This isn’t an inherently bad thing; the outdoors can be a bit harsh sometimes (just ask any Winnipegger how their February was!), but just because the indoor environment is warm and cozy, doesn’t mean it can’t be harsh, too. The home can be a risky place, and sometimes that risk presents a dilemma, such is the case with fire and flame retardants.

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Let’s phthink and talk about phthalates in phthings.

Phthalates. The word doesn’t exactly roll easily off your tongue, and it conveys no meaning beyond the rather unusual spelling. When I look at it, I always think that I’ve put in too many h’s. Are there two….four? It does, however, catch the eye and pulls attention back to it. By the time you’ve spent thirty seconds on the pronunciation, you start to wonder about its meaning. Besides being a word that could bring even the most confident thirteen year old speller to his or her knees, it represents an important class of compounds that pose an interesting toxicological problem. Phthalates show toxicity, but are found abundantly in consumer products, cosmetics and plastics. We have tested for their effects, and we know a lot about them, but we can’t quite put enough of a case together to run these phthalates out of town, torches burning, pitchforks in the air – despite the best efforts of a few groups.

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Out of the frying pan and into the fire: The fishy tale of perfluorinated compounds.

Found in a wide range of consumer products including Teflon coated cookware, textiles, paints, fire-retardant foams, stain-guard, lubricants, and food packaging, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have emerged as a persistent pollutant.  Not only do these compounds contaminate the environment, they also are a concern for human health.

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How phthalates taught me to count chemicals - not calories.

When my supervisor first suggested phthalates for the basis of my thesis work, the word ‘phthalate’ held no meaning to me - let alone how to pronounce the name (pronounced ‘thall-ates’). But over these past two years my relationship with phthalates has changed from moments of joy at conferences, to moments of agony late at night debugging statistical programs.  Today, I am thankful for studying these pesky little plasticizers because they have given me tools to stop counting calories, and start counting chemicals - let me explain.

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Flying under the radar: How toxic compounds find their way into everyday products.

I would like to invite some familiar (yet infamous) faces to this listen in on this conversation.  Some acquaintances appearing on the guest list include DDT and neonicotinoids (widely used insecticides), bisphenol A (found in drinking bottles), and flame retardants such as PBDEs (added to children’s pajamas and other potentially flammable materials around the home).

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