CBS Disparages Flame-Retardant Chemicals; Vague About Dangers

According to the American Fire Safety Council (AFSC), flame-retardant chemicals save a lot of lives. But you would never know that from watching the May 19 "CBS Evening News" because correspondent Wyatt Andrews hyped the danger of such chemicals.

Andrews report featured a liberal politician who wants to ban the chemicals in Maine, and has made it one of her pet causes.

"You know, it makes me angry that I could have a child in the next couple years who would be impacted by these chemicals in my body," Democratic Maine State Rep. Hannah Pingree said on CBS May 19. Pingree is also the House majority leader in the Maine legislature according to "Evening News."

Andrews also included a senior toxicologist with the Environmental Protection Agency who said the chemicals "can affect the developing brain and they can affect the developing reproductive system," but "there is very limited evidence whether or not they can cause cancer."

Still Andrews hyped the dangers of the chemical and said flame-retardant chemicals can be found in our bodies because of their widespread use on fabrics.

"We all have it because for 30 years flame-retardant chemicals, hundreds of millions of pounds of them, have been embedded in furniture and consumer products in an effort to slow down fires and reduce deaths and injuries," Andrews said. "But scientists are now raising red flags about the widely used brominated flame retardants called [polybrominated diphenyl ethers] PBDEs."

According to the AFSC, these products do save many lives by slowing the spread of fire and providing essential escape time.

"As producers and users of flame retardants, we are proud of the important role they play in saving lives," Mark Buczek, chairman of the AFSC said in a press release. "Whether in furniture, mattresses, television sets or automobiles, flame retardants work silently to protect the public and fire fighters and reduce injuries and property damage from fires."