Your old sofa, as comfy as it is, could be a hazard to your children’s health. That’s because fabrics and foam manufactured before 2005 likely were treated with flame retardants like PBDEs. These toxic chemicals may affect brain development in young children, research suggests.
A new study at Oregon State is designed to help clarify the risks. A multidisciplinary team of researchers at the Corvallis and OSU-Cascades campuses is monitoring 100 preschoolers in both communities, looking at chemical exposure and children’s behavior, particularly their ability to self-regulate, a key to school readiness.
“Given the fact that the numbers of children with neurological and cognitive disabilities is on the rise in the developing world, many have hypothesized that exposure to chemicals may be a contributing factor,” says Molly Kile, the public health environmental epidemiologist who is leading the study.