Best Buy eliminates toxic flame retardants from TVs

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Updated Feb 2022:
Best Buy announced they are banning organohalogen flame retardants from all of their newly designed models of Best Buy’s Exclusive Brand televisions (such as Insignia).

This is a big deal, as Best Buy is the second-largest retailer of consumer electronics in North America and the first major North American retailer to restrict OFRs in its private-label televisions. With this move, Best Buy also shows it’s possible to make TVs without these toxic chemicals in the display enclosures and stands.

No child or pregnant woman should be exposed to chemicals that may harm their health from televisions and other electronics they have in their homes. But the truth is that flame retardants escape from products and get into household dust and air and then into our bodies.

Flame retardants can harm children’s brain health. Scientific studies show that certain organohalogen flame retardants are associated with harm to children’s brains. These effects include lower IQ and problems with verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, motor coordination, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and attention.

One of these flame retardants, DECA, is banned in our Healthy Children Project Director’s home state of Maine. She remembers very clearly being at the legislative hearing to testify in favor of the ban. The chief of a local fire department shared that his firefighters were fighting a fire at that very moment but he was there at the State House because an even greater threat to his firefighters’ health was getting cancer from all the toxins. Firefighters are more likely to die from cancer than the fire itself because even with all of their safety equipment, they are exposed to all the nasty chemicals in products including flame retardants. We trust the International Firefighters who say “research has shown these fire retardants do very little to stop fires”.

LDA was alarmed by a study published last year by the Mind the Store campaign and Toxic-Free Future finding that some Best Buy televisions contained high concentrations of toxic flame retardants. The study found: “Three Best Buy Insignia Roku TVs contained hazardous organohalogen flame retardants. All Best Buy Insignia TVs contained the banned flame retardant deca-BDE, outlawed in five state; one TV contained deca-BDE at levels above Washington’s enforcement limit.”

As one of the largest electronics retailers in the U.S. and the world, Best Buy has a responsibility to act and we are thankful that they took action on their private label TVs. We encourage Best Buy to continue getting these toxic flame retardants out of other electronics as well.

 

Resources:

Flame retardant bans and current legislation

Chicago Tribune Playing with Fire Series

Study Testing TVs by Mind the Store and Toxic-Free Future

Some of the science demonstrating the toxicity of flame retardants by NIH and Project TENDR

LDA letter to Best Buy on behalf of 24 organizations asking the company to phase out the sale of electronics containing toxic flame retardants.

LDA is a proud member of Safer States and Mind the Store. Safer States shares the laws and proposed legislation by state on flame retardants and other chemicals. Mind the Store shares the TV study and our campaign to push retailers to sell products free of harmful chemicals, like flame retardants.

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Tracy Gregoire

Tracy Gregoire

Tracy Gregoire is the Healthy Children Project Director for the Learning Disabilities Association of America, and is a long-time advocate for children’s health.

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