Because Sightline has done a study on the high levels of PBDEs in northwesterners, people often ask us about what they can do to protect themselves and their children from the toxic flame retardants.
A good new resource on this topic is Green Guide’s handy clip-and-save Smart Shoppers PBDE card (pdf). The card gives general tips on avoiding toxics in your diet and—most useful—lists computer and furniture companies that have chosen not to use PBDEs in their products, including Intel, Motorola, IKEA, and Lifekind. (Green Guide also has a good article summarizing the risks of PBDEs.)
It’s worth keeping in mind, though, that ultimately the best way to avoid PBDEs—which have been found in everything from dust to grocery store food—is to phase them out of all new products and get rid of old PBDE-laden products. They are so ubiquitous that exposure isn’t a choice. So consumers need to pay attention to policy as well, as the mothers from our study know well. (To see what your region is doing to phase out PBDEs, go here.)