Letter to the editor
March 30, 2012
To the editor:
I am a senior at Tri-Valley School in Healy. As a resident of Alaska and a volunteer firefighter, I have become increasingly concerned for my peers, friends, elders, family and fellow Alaskans. I have learned we are all breathing in and consuming PBDEs, substances we assumed were keeping us safe but are in fact harming us.
PBDEs are used as flame retardants but may promote cancer, as well as developmental, thyroid and reproductive health problems. So the question I have is, why are we continuing to use these chemicals when there are safe, economical alternatives already in the marketplace?
It is a scary thought that my family could be exposed to these harmful toxics from simply sitting on our couch or using a computer. I am especially concerned, being an Alaskan and a firefighter, that, because of bioaccumulation, a large amount of PBDEs are found in Alaska. As a firefighter, I am exposed to these toxins in a higher amount when fighting a fire.
Furthermore, consumers of these products don’t even have the right to know that PBDEs are in the things they use each day. How can I limit my exposure when I don’t have the right to know what is in my household products?
PBDEs need to be banned now so we can make decisions on what we feel is best for our own well-being and health. I support House Bill 63 and Senate Bill 27 so we can protect ourselves and future generations of Alaskans.