From Our President: Hidden Dangers in the Air

Every day we navigate obstacles that can undermine our personal health. At CR, we’re determined to shine a light on the threats that are easy to miss—because they can literally be microscopic.

One example is the almost invisible danger that invades our homes in the form of dust. This issue’s cover story, “The Danger in Your Dust,” highlights the toxic chemicals and harmful microplastics in our dust and how they can hurt us. You can also learn a number of ways to clean up dust—and create less of it—to reduce your risk.

Similarly, there are problems hidden in our cars. A recent study by Green Science Policy Institute and Duke University researchers found that flame retardants—some of which are known to be carcinogenic—can be found in a car’s cabin air. Manufacturers add these chemicals to seat foam and other interior parts to meet a 1971 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration flammability standard for vehicle interiors. While preventing fires is important, the new research shows that these requirements may hurt consumers in a different way.

This fire safety standard hasn’t been updated in decades, even though safe alternatives do exist. In fact, other flammability standards, like those for upholstered furniture, have already adopted a different type of fire safety test that has led to lower levels of harmful flame retardants in household products.

It’s past time for vehicle safety standards to change, which is why CR is calling on NHTSA to update its rules. Consumers deserve modern safeguards, allowing for proven alternatives that keep us safe from fires in our cars and dangers in the air. You can help take action.