CHE-Alaska Teleconference: Recorded February 5, 2014

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Arlene Blum presentation slides (PDF)

About the call:

A number of studies have linked flame retardant chemicals used in home furniture and baby products to human health concerns such as cancer, neurological impairments and fertility problems. In response, California Governor Jerry Brown announced changes to the state’s furniture flammability standards in November that would increase fire safety without the use of harmful chemicals. California’s standard had become the defacto standard for manufacturers across the US and Canada. Will the new standard succeed in shifting manufacturers to safer ways to achieve fire safety? Why is this an important public health concern in Alaska?

On this call, Arlene Blum PhD, author, mountaineer, and founder of the Green Science Policy Institute discusses the health effects of flame retardant chemicals and the likely impacts of California’s new standard.


Arlene Blum, PhD, founder and executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute, Dr. Blum is a biophysical chemist, visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry, and author of Annapurna: A Woman’s Place and Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life. Dr. Blum’s research contributed to the regulation of two cancer-causing flame retardants used in children’s sleepwear in the 1970s and prevented unnecessary flammability standards that would have led to the use of hundreds of millions of pounds of persistent toxic chemicals each year. Dr. Blum’s awards include selection by the UK Guardian as one of the world’s 100 most inspiring women and National Women’s History Project selection as one of 100 “Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet”, selection as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, and recent election to the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence. Please see for more information about her adventures and a calendar of events.