Even more shocking, the researchers found "tris," a chemical that was banned from being used in children's sleepwear 40 years ago, in more than one-third of the tested products. Scientists have concluded that chlorinated tris mutates DNA and may be carcinogenic. Interestingly enough, tris became more commonplace after industry began using it to replace "penta," a furniture flame retardant banned in 2004 due to its link to lower IQ scores of toddlers and preschoolers in the New York City area.
"Are we moving from one compound for which there is a concern to a newer compound that may be just as bad or worse?" stated Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health, in Scientific American. "There are a few [of these compounds] that we certainly have concerns about."
A handful of the flame retardant chemicals have been banned for use in products in a few states, such as Vermont and California. Testing continues on the chemicals and a search is underway for safer alternatives that manufacturers can use in their place.