Antimony is a naturally occurring metal often found in metal alloys, paints, ceramics, and fireworks. It is also used in the production of polyester, and is found in disposable plastic bottles. Antimony trioxide is used as a component in flame retardant chemical solutions, which are added to mattresses and other household goods.
How am I exposed?
Antimony is found in the air and water due to pollution from coal-burning power plants, vehicle exhaust, and other industrial emissions.
Antimony is also found in household dust due to the release from consumer products that contain antimony.
Why should I be concerned?
Antimony trioxide has been shown to cause cancer, eye and lung irritation, heart, lung and stomach damage, hair loss and fertility problems. However, the EPA has not classified antimony as a carcinogen.
What can government and business do?
- Federal and state governments can pass legislation that restricts the amount of antimony that can be produced and added to consumer products like mattresses, paints and coatings.
- Businesses should phase out antimony and look for safer chemical substitutes.
How can I reduce my exposure?
- Avoid products treated with flame retardants by asking the manufacturer and/or retailer whether or not the products contain flame retardants or ask for “flame retardant-free” products. When buying upholstered furniture, look for a label that specifies product is TB117 2013 compliant (Labels without 2013 do have chemical flame retardants) and does not have flame retardants. Avoid memory foam products which have antimony trioxide.
- Choose stainless steel or glass water bottles instead of single use plastic water bottles.
- Toxic Free Future: Antimony
- Environmental Protection Agency: Antimony
- Environmental Working Group: There’s Toxic Antimony in Baby Bibs, Clothing, Toys, And Games
Toxic Free Future provided content for this page.