(pronounced flaym rih-TAR-dehnt)
As an adjective, flame retardant means that something as been made or treated so as to resist burning. As a noun, a flame retardant is the chemical used to treat products — such as textiles, building materials, home goods, or clothing — during or after the manufacturing process in order to inhibit or resist the spread of fire. Flame retardants are required by law on many components that interior designers specify, but lately, more and more debate has gone on about how certain flame retardants pose a risk to human health. In fact, certain national chain stores are beginning to ban the use of particular chemicals on the products that they offer consumers.