Antimony is a metal that is found in nature. One chemical compound of antimony, called antimony trioxide, is added to flame retardants to make them more effective. Antimony compounds are also used to make some types of plastics, glass, pigments, and electronic components. Antimony can be mixed with other metals to make alloys that are resistant to wear and corrosion.
Antimony is found in:
- Flame retardants used in a wide variety of products, including:
- Children’s products, such as sleepwear and other clothing, car seats, and toys.
- Plastic items, such as car dashboards, coatings on electric wires, electrical tape, components of some small appliances like toasters, some tarps, and vinyl flooring.
- Upholstery fabric, drapes, rugs, and carpeting.
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic used to make a wide variety of food and drink containers, like water and soda bottles; microwavable and ovenproof plastic trays; storage bags; and plastic jars.
- Metal alloys used in various products, such as car batteries, pipe fittings, bullets, and metal solder for electronics and plumbing.
- Pewter items, such as plates, beer mugs, and jewelry.
- Fluorescent light bulb glass; optical glass used in eyeglasses, cameras, and microscopes; and glass screens in old televisions.
- Some yellow and white pigments used in paint, printing ink, plastic, rubber, and ceramic.
Possible health concerns of some forms of antimony:
- May contribute to respiratory problems.
- May affect the heart.
- May increase cancer risk.
Possible ways to reduce exposure to antimony:
- Because antimony can come out of products and collect in dust:
- Wash your and your child’s hands often, especially before preparing or eating food.
- Clean your floors regularly, using a wet mop or HEPA vacuum if possible, and use a damp cloth to dust.
- Avoid drinking water from plastic water bottles left in hot places, such as a car or garage.
- Choose glass or stainless steel containers to store food and drinks, and avoid using plastic containers or trays to prepare food in the microwave or the oven.
- Look for furniture that has “TB117-2013” labels, the new California flammability standard that can be met without using chemical flame retardants. The label should indicate if the furniture contains flame retardants or not.
- Avoid used furniture with “TB-117” labels, which is more likely to contain chemical flame retardants.