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The average American home contains multiple sources of toxic flame-retardant chemicals—called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs—because they are widely used in carpeting, upholstery, draperies, and other textiles, as well as in foam insulation, electronics, and plastics. PBDEs have been linked to cancer and reproductive disorders. In the past, the use of these chemicals was mandated by law; today, however, there are less-toxic alternatives available.
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