Our goals and members
The Gymnast Flame Retardant Collaborative (GFRC) was founded by a group of flame retardant researchers to facilitate communication between research scientists, fire safety experts, equipment manufacturers and the gymnastics community. Some of our goals are to:
1. Exchange information about flame retardants, gymnastics and fire safety standards.
2. Design and test intervention strategies for reducing gymnast exposure to flame retardants.
3. Explore options for eliminating the use of additive flame retardants in gymnastics equipment.
4. Further characterize gymnast exposure to flame retardants and monitor for potential health effects.
Our founding members include:
Courtney Carignan, PhD
Dr. Carignan is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is an environmental epidemiologist and exposure scientist whose research focuses on emerging contaminants, particularly flame retardants and other endocrine disrupting chemicals, among vulnerable populations and effects on human fertility and reproduction. As a former competitive gymnast, she understands the unique equipment needs and exposure scenarios for gymnasts and is currently facilitating a research project aimed at reducing gymnast exposure to flame retardants by identifying preferred solutions for foam pits. You may reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heather Stapleton, PhD
Dr. Stapleton is an Associate Professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. She is an environmental chemist and an international expert on flame retardants. Her lab is at the leading edge of flame retardant research and was instrumental in helping get flame retardants out of foam-containing baby products in the U.S.
Tom Webster, PhD
Dr. Webster is a Professor of Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health. He is an environmental epidemiologist and an international expert on human exposure to flame retardants. His research has helped recognize that flame retardants are continually released from products into air and dust, that incidental dust ingestion is an important way that flame retardants enter our bodies and that fabric coverings do not prevent their release.