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Join us for our annual meeting this Monday (see details below).

Dear Supporter,

My son, like many children, is fascinated with anything to do with firefighters and fire trucks. Recently, he started to worry about fires and whether our wood stove was safe. After all the area fire trucks responded to a fire on our street, my family practiced what we would do if we had smoke or fire in our home.

As parents, we do all we can to keep our family safe, but sadly, some things are out of our control. That's why I was horrified to read the new study from Duke University and UC Berkley found that 85% of couches contain unsafe, untested levels of flame retardants. Two Maine families had their couches tested along with a 100 other couches for toxic flame retardants for this study. Jenny Rottman, a friend from the Environmental Healthy Strategy Center, shared her dismay and anger at finding out her a flame retardant in her couch could harm her unborn child, "Just a week before I am due with my first child, I've learned...that my coach contains a toxic flame chemical Firemaster 550, which can affect prenatal development." Many of the chemicals that were found in the tested couches are associated with neurological and reproduction harm, hormone disruption, or cancer. The truth is, these chemicals get out of  products, including coaches, and are found in household dust (and in our children's bodies as well as our own). In fact, an American baby is likely to be born with the highest amount of these chemicals than any other child in the world. 

What makes me even more angry is the fact that these toxic flame retardants, at the levels added to our furniture, do not necessarily even protect us from fires (the foam in couches can ignite in seconds). One of the most moving testimonies I have witnessed at the State House was by a Maine fire chief. He shared that as he stood there testifying in support of banning the toxic flame retardant deca, that his firefighters were not only fighting a fire, but also being exposed to the toxic chemical. Sadly, not only do firefighters risk their lives each time they fight a fire, they also have a much higher risk for cancer because of these toxic chemicals.

Check some of the press coverage of the release of this report from the Bangor Daily News and the WGME Channel 13 story and learn what the Professional Firefighters of Maine have to say about these toxic flame retardants that also threaten their health and safety.

To learn more about toxic flame retardants and why they don't protect us like they should by reading the Chicago Tribune series Playing with Fire which exposed the deceptive tactics the chemical industry uses to promote toxic flame retardants, which don't actually work as reported.

Some helpful tips to reduce exposure to toxic flame retardants:
- vacuum with a hepa filter and damp mop wood and tile flooring to collect dust

- wash your hands and your children's hands often, including before eating

- replace/repair ripped upholstery

- buy products made with natural materials like wool or cotton, which are naturally flame-retardant

- dress your children in snug pajamas, which are more likely to be free of flame retardant chemicals

- wash your hands after disposing of dryer lint

and of course, use working smoke detectors and keep matches, candles, and cigarettes locked away to help prevent fires

Join the Learning Disabilities Association of Maine for our Our Annual Meeting!

Don't forget, our annual meeting is this coming Monday. Free and open to the public. Coffee and light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP by emailing
info@ldame.org (if you have not already done so).

This Monday, December 3, 2012
Aucocisco School
(126 Spurwink Avenue in Cape Elizabeth, Maine)

Our featured speaker will be Richard O'Meara, Attorney specializing in Special Education Law:
Learn about the latest updates to Maine Special Education Law and what they mean for your child and your school.


Tracy Gregoire

Learning Disabilities Association of Maine

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