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Silent Spring Institute: Reducing recreational exposure to flame retardants

Project Details

Year: 2017
Location: Statewide
Project Manager: Courtney Carignan, Lead Investigator
Partners: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Tufts University.


An extension from a previous TURI grant, Silent Spring Institute's goal was to recruit a gymnastics studio to replace flame retardant foam pit cubes with non-flame retardant foam. The project includes a study of the flammability of foam pit cubes and gymnasts’ exposure to flame retardants. Final findings, including fire safety results, will be communicated to fire chiefs and gyms across the Commonwealth.


The group paired up with Gymnastics and More in Woburn to replace the flame retardant foam pit cubes with non-flame retardant foam.  The gymnasts were also willing to provided hand-wipe samples before and after practice.  

Fact sheet was updated to include results of flammability study and shared via the GFRC website and list serve, shared during presentations to the fire protection community, and emailed to 297 Massachusetts gyms. Last year’s project team gave a webinar on June 1st for the International Society of Fire Protection Engineers. The webinar is now posted on YouTube with a link from the GFRC website.  A Webinar was held on June 6th and facilitated by TURI with 32 registrants and 21 attendees. The GFRC membership and 297 Massachusetts gym were invited to attend. The webinar is now posted on the GFRC website and a link was emailed to 297 Massachusetts gyms.

They plan to conduct data analysis and develop a publication for a peer reviewed journal over the coming year. They also plan to facilitate toxicity testing of new flame retardants for foam.

This page updated Tuesday July 18 2017