It may not seem like it given recent major fires, but the risk of dying in a residential fire has sharply declined in the past 15 years. One of the reasons is the widespread use of flame retardants in household goods. But the use of flame retardants may have a larger hidden cost. Some of the chemicals used in the retardants pose health risks, particularly to firefighters.
- Dr. Susan Shaw is the president of the Marine Environmental Research Institute in Blue Hill, Maine. She's researching the effects flame retardants have on firefighters, including those in the Northeast.