British mums have some of world’s most fireproof breast milk
Posted on: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 By: KorchekStaff
UK mothers have some of the world’s highest concentrations of flame-retardant chemicals in their breast milk, MPs have warned.
The Government has been criticised for not doing enough to protect people from the potentially life-threatening chemicals in their homes. The Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) questioned the benefit of flame-retardant substances, arguing that some can produce toxic smoke when exposed to fire. Committee chairwoman Mary Creagh said: ‘Most people assume that they aren’t at risk from toxic chemicals but the reality is different. ‘Mums in the UK have some of the world’s highest concentrations of flame retardants in their breast milk, some of which have now been banned. ‘Chemical flame retardants are still being widely used in our furnishings from children’s mattresses to sofas. ‘Meanwhile the Government is sitting on its hands instead of changing regulations to ensure that the most toxic chemicals are taken out of use.’
The report said people had been exposed to a ‘cocktail of chemicals’ since birth and added following the introduction of the 1988 Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations, some common flame retardants had been classed as being of ‘very high concern’. The MPs called for the Government to respond to a 2016 review of fire safety regulations before the new prime minister takes office on July 24. EAC was also concerned about the amount of chemicals used in plastic and food packaging that were already determined to be ‘harmful to human health and the environment’. It proposed a ban on the use in “food contact materials” of substances defined as being of high concern by European chemicals regulations. The committee’s report also warned that chemicals are routinely used in products where their presence is not indicated on the label.
EAC also recommended a specific programme for residents and firefighters caught up in the Grenfell Tower tragedy after being ‘troubled by the by the lack of urgency in response to the findings of environmental contamination around the site’. A Government spokesman said: “The UK’s furniture safety requirements are the highest in Europe. ‘We are committed to improving environmental outcomes and reducing toxicity but need to do so in a clear, well evidenced way which also improves fire safety. ‘We are committed to publishing our response to the review of furniture fire safety regulations before recess to ensure the highest levels of safety are both maintained and improved.’