Fire retardant chemicals migrate from furniture into the dust in the air in our homes and from there into our bodies. These toxic chemicals are related to TRIS, a fire retardant once used in children’s pajamas that was banned by federal authorities in 1977 as a carcinogen. These fire retardants are associated with cancer, birth defects, thyroid disruption, hearing deficits, learning disorders and mental retardation.
Senate Bill 772 (Leno) was approved by the State Senate on June 3rd in a close vote but has been held up in Assembly Appropriations until January of 2010. The bill would end the requirement that many baby products be treated with fire retardants. Chemical manufacturers spent nearly $9 million dollars to kill a toxic furniture ban in 2007 and they are at it again.
Fire safety measures in recent decades, including smoke alarm ordinances and mandating fire safe cigarettes that extinguish instead of smoldering when a smoker stops puffing away, have significantly reduced the incidence of home fire fatalities. States that don’t have a toxic furniture requirement have seen a similar decline in fire-related deaths. A recent U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission report found ZERO incidents of death caused by children’s furniture that burned.
One recent study found that the dust in California homes had 4 to 10 times higher levels of toxic flame retardants than other states, and 200 times higher levels compared to homes in the European Union. Studies have found elevated flame retardant levels in the breast milk of nursing mothers, and unusually high levels in the blood of infants and babies. Chemical industry profits shouldn’t outweigh the health and safety of California children.
Tell Your Representatives: Protect Children from Toxic Flame Retardants!