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Hazardous Chemical Found in Best Buy, Amazon TVs

WASHINGTON—A new investigation, titled “Toxic TV Binge,” from a coalition of environmental health advocacy groups has revealed that six state-of-the-art TV models from Toshiba and Insignia, developed in partnership with Best Buy and Amazon, contain dangerous flame retardants in the TV’s plastic components.

The TV models cited in the reports include three Best Buy Insignia Roku TVs and three Toshiba (Hisense) Fire TVs produced in partnership with Amazon. Both models were found to contain organohalogens flame retardants, while the Insignia TVs also had the deca-BDE organohalogen flame retardant, which is banned in five states.

Organohalogens have toxicity that can lead to cancer, harm to the nervous system, hormone disruption and other health issues if the chemicals were to leak from the plastic TV casings into the air and dust of homes, potentially making it into people’s bodies.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned manufacturers and retailers in 2017 to eliminate the use of organohalogen flame retardants in electronics, including TVs. The European Union recently issued an official ban of the chemical in electronic displays.

Both Best Buy and Amazon launched safer chemical policies over the last few years, but the report says that neither has restricted the class of organohalogen flame retardants in private-label or brand-name televisions they sell. Best Buy had previously received letters from more than 50 consumer and public health organizations to do so.

As a result of this research, consumer health organizations have launched a petition calling on Best Buy to act to eliminate flame retardants from its products entirely. Advocates are said to have sent letters to Amazon urging the company take action in regards to flame retardants.

“When a family sits down in front of their TV to relax, the last thing they are considering is possible toxic chemical exposure from their latest electronic purchase,” said Erika Schreder, science director with Toxic-Free Future. “Manufacturers and retailers should heed the warning of CPSC and provide their customers peace of mind that they’re not exposing their families to harmful chemicals.”

The full “Toxic TV Binge” report is available for download.