The Chicago Tribune is in the middle of publishing an investigative series on the safety and effectiveness of chemical flame retardants -- which are used widely in plastic foam upholstery. The first two stories in the series, "Playing with fire," charge that the chemical industry misled consumers and legislators in order to require widespread use of flame retardants. The second story is particular is sure to raise eyebrows. "Big Tobacco wins fire marshals as allies in flame retardant push" charges that the tobacco industry worked behind the scenes to steer the debate away from making cigarettes less hazardous -- and towards requiring wider use of flame retardant chemicals. A primary player in the debate, according to the story, was Peter Sparber, a former Tobacco Institute executive who helped create and steer the National Association of State Fire Marshals. The meat for the report came from tobacco industry documents that became public after cigarette companies settled lawsuits over the health costs of treating smokers, according to the Tribune. Watch for the next two installments in the series on Wednesday and Thursday.
Report links flame retardants and tobacco industry
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