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California Moves Closer to Passing Nation’s First Fire Retardant Labeling Law

Thursday, August 28, 2014


If you go shopping for a couch, most of them will unfortunately contain foam saturated with pounds of potentially toxic chemical fire retardants.

Recent regulatory changes in the state of California have made it much easier for manufacturers to sell furniture that does not contain these harmful chemicals.  But it remains incredibly difficult for consumers to know which couches still contain fire retardants and which do not.

Thanks to the hard work of many advocacy organizations, including EWG, that lack of transparency may change very soon. California will likely become the first state in the nation to pass legislation that would require furniture labels to declare whether or not the product contains toxic flame retardant chemicals. 

SB 1019, authored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-11th), has passed both California’s Assembly and Senate with wide bipartisan support. The final hurdles for the bill to become law are for SB 1019 to pass a final vote in the Senate and then for Governor Brown to sign it.  Luckily, advocates for the bill expect both hurdles to be cleared.

As Bill Allayaud, EWG’s California Director of Government Affairs points out:

“A recent EWG-Duke University study found that young children carry 5 times higher levels of flame retardants than their moms. With these labels, parents now have a choice-- they don’t have to bring a toxic couch into their family’s home.”

Well said, Bill. And as someone who has been putting off buying a new couch for several years with the hope that one day I would finally be able to buy a couch without fire retardants, I could not be more excited.

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