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Brown To Revise Fire Retardant Guidelines

(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Monday, June 18, 2012

Oakland, Calif. -- California Governor Jerry Brown took a stand for public health today by directing state agencies to revise outdated and unsupportable flammability standards.

"We are literally polluting the entire world with our four-decade old guidelines," said Renee Sharp, senior scientist and director of Environmental Working Group's California office. "Contrary to industry's talking points, toxic flame retardants do not increase protection against fire dangers but taint our bodies and those of our children with chemicals linked to infertility, cancer and behavioral changes."

Brown's press release cited Environmental Working Group's 2008 groundbreaking study that found California toddlers typically had blood levels of flame retardants three times higher than their mothers.

A second EWG study found a common fire retardant chemical in the umbilical cord blood of all 10 newborns tested. A third found that the average level of fire-retardants in breast milk from 20 American moms was 75 times higher than the average levels measured in European mothers.

The elevated levels of fire retardants noted in Californians and people around the United States are attributable in large part to a state standard whose efficacy has never been proven and encourages saturating upholstery with fire retardant chemicals.