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TV Safety

Hazardous Chemicals Uncovered in Best Buy, Amazon TVs

A coalition of environmental health advocacy groups released new research revealing hazardous and outdated flame retardant chemicals contained in televisions sold by Best Buy and Amazon. The investigation, Toxic TV Binge, uncovered flame retardants in the plastic components of six TVs under the Toshiba and Insignia brands.

All six TVs examined — three Best Buy Insignia Roku TVs and three Toshiba (Hisense) Fire TVs — were found to contain organohalogens, the worst class of flame retardants. The Insignia TVs also contained deca-BDE, an organohalogen flame retardant that is banned in Washington State as well as Oregon. Levels of deca-BDE were above Washington’s enforcement limits in one TV. In 2017, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning to manufacturers and retailers, urging them to “eliminate the use” of organohalogen flame retardants in electronics such as TVs.

Organohalogen flame retardants are of concern because of their toxicity. Many are linked to cancer, harm to the nervous system, hormone disruption, and other health problems. Additionally, the chemicals often leak from plastic TV casings into the air and dust of out homes and can make it into the bodies of out families and pets.

“Why are Best Buy and Amazon allowing these dangerous flame retardants to be used in televisions? Organohalogen flame retardant chemicals are so problematic that they were just outlawed in Europe. These major retailers must step up and eliminate these dangerous chemicals once and for all.” said Mike Schade, Mind the Store campaign director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.

“When a family sits down in front of the TV to relax, the last thing they are considering is possible toxic chemical exposure from their latest electronics purchase.” said Erika Schreder, science director with Toxic-Free Future.

Neither Best Buy nor Amazon have restricted the class of organohalogen flame retardants in private-label televisions they sell, even after Best Buy received a letter from more than 50 consumer and public health organizations calling on them to do so.

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