Bill to Ban Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals in Furniture, Mattresses and Children’s Products Sent to Governor’s Desk

Media Contacts

CALPIRG

Sacramento – Today the Assembly with a 52:12 vote approved AB 2998, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, to ban toxic flame retardant chemicals from furniture, mattresses and children’s products across California. The bill heads next to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature. 

“Chemicals linked to cancer do not belong in our homes or around our children. These chemicals have been used in children’s products, furniture and mattresses for decades, threatening our health, when all along they never made fires safer in the first place,” said Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate with CALPIRG. “If AB 2998 becomes law, consumers can be clear that the products we buy are free from these dangerous chemicals.”  

Chemical flame retardants were developed in the 1950s and were in widespread use by the 1970s. However, these chemicals don’t stay in products. They get into household dust and into our bodies where they stay and build up over time. Now more than 90 percent of Americans have detectable levels of flame retardant chemicals in their bodies, with children having some of the highest levels. Flame retardants are linked to cancer, delayed development, lower IQ and infertility.

The health threat is so serious that the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning last September to consumers to avoid all products containing chemical flame retardants, stating ‘these chemicals have a disproportionately negative health effect on vulnerable populations, including children.”  

The city of San Francisco, and the states of Rhode Island and Maine have already banned the use of chemical flame retardants on children’s products. Additionally, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is now in the middle of a rulemaking to consider a ban on chemical flame retardants in children’s products. AB 2998 goes further than the CPSC proposal by including not only organohalogen flame retardants in the ban, but also banning organophosphate, organonitrogen, and nanoscale chemical flame retardants.

 

 

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