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Environmental connections to public health >>

Senator Pushes to Ban 10 Toxic Flame Retardants From Children’s Products

Monday, September 15, 2014

 

The drumbeat continued this weekend in the effort to get unnecessary and toxic flame retardant chemicals out of children’s products and home furniture.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Sunday (Sept. 14) that he was introducing legislation that would ban 10 toxic flame retardant chemicals from being used in children’s products and upholstered home furniture. These chemicals, including TDCPP and TCEP, are added to polyurethane foam used in a wide range of household items and migrate out over time, contaminating people and household dust.

Schumer’s bill, the Children and Firefighter Protection Act, would also require the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to appoint an advisory panel to evaluate the health risks of exposure to flame retardants including accounting for the presence of these toxic chemicals in children, pregnant women and firefighters. Following its evaluation, the Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel, or CHAP, would make recommendations that could restrict the use of other toxic fire retardants.

The legislation comes on the heels of new research released by scientists at EWG and Duke University that found evidence of exposure to TDCPP (also known as TDCIPP), a fire retardant linked to cancer, in the bodies of all 22 mothers and 26 children tested. The average level of BDCIPP, a metabolite formed when TDCPP breaks down in the body, was nearly five times higher in children than in the mothers. In the most extreme case, a child had 23 times more BDCIPP than the mother.

Last week, the state of California passed a bill that would require furniture companies to label products that contain fire retardant chemicals. The bill is awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s signature and he has indicated he will likely sign it.  The bill comes after the state revised its outdated flame retardant standard to better address furniture fire safety. The revised California standard doesn’t ban or restrict any flame retardants, but Sen. Schumer’s bill would ensure that many of these toxic chemicals couldn’t be used in children’s products and upholstered furniture in the home.

The senator’s bill is timely and necessary in large part because of the refusal of the chemical industry and its congressional allies to support serious and reasonable ideas for comprehensive reform of the broken Toxic Substances Control Act. Until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to evaluate the safety of chemicals and protect consumers, leaders like Sen. Schumer will continue their work to protect all Americans from toxic chemicals. And for that, we applaud him.

 

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