pregnancyA new study finds expecting mothers who were exposed to a flame retardant chemical may have been more likely to have a premature birth. That’s a concern because premature babies may have more health problems and may need to stay in the hospital longer than babies born later. They also may have long-term health problems that can affect their whole lives.

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch have determined that maternal exposure to high levels of flame-retardants may be a contributing factor in preterm births. The study was recently published in the Journal of Reproductive Immunology. The researchers focused on PBDEs, a class of flame retardants that have been banned in several states and are used less. But,  the industry has substituted PBDEs with other brominated flame retardants that continue to raise health concerns.

A common source of exposure to flame retardants is upholstered furniture likes sofas and car seats. Our Mind the Store campaign has urged retailers to phase out their use, and a recent Chicago Tribune story reported that several retailers are phasing them out, though there is still a long way to go.

Check out the Tribune story to see which retailers reported taking action, and you can take action now by asking our nation’s leading furniture maker, Ashley, to commit to a deadline in phasing out the use of flame retardants.