Smokin’! New Study Shows Mexican-American Children Are Apparently Fireproof

California’s poor Mexican-American children are contaminated with 7 times more flame retardants than children in Mexico and 3 times more than their own mothers, a new study finds.

Environmental Health News reports that blood work conducted on a pool of 264 Salinas Valley children showed that they had more chemicals in their bodies than almost all other people tested worldwide, .  

“The levels in young children noted in this study present a major public health challenge,” wrote the researchers, directed by UC Berkeley School of Public Health epidemiologist Brenda Eskenazi.

It was determined that low-income, rather than race or ethnicity, is most likely the major factor in determining who is highly exposed to these chemicals, as “poorly manufactured or deteriorating furniture may release more of the compounds, which are added to polyurethane cushions to slow the spread of flames when furniture catches fire.”

Other than proving to be a nifty campfire trick, little is known on the effect of these compounds on the human body, though EHN notes that two previous studies have linked them to worse fine-motor skills and attention in children, as well as declined fertility.

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