CFC SB 772 Fact Sheets – Protecting Children from Toxic Flame Retardants
California is the only state in the nation that maintains a standard
(TB 117) requiring the use of fire retardant chemicals in the
polyurethane foam contained in juvenile products.
Brominated and chlorinated fire retardants are associated with numerous public health concerns, including cancer, birth defects, thyroid disruption, hearing deficits, learning disorders such as ADHD, and mental retardation. The bill prevents the Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation
from applying fire retardancy regulations to ‘juvenile products’
designed for use by children age six or under.
SB 772 strikes the proper balance between protecting infants and children from harmful toxic exposures and any limited legitimate use of fire reta
Read CFC’s three fact sheets on why this law should be changed.
Front group: An organization that purports to be independent voluntary association or charitable organization, but actually serves the interest of the sponsoring party whose identity is often hidden. Certain front groups are seemingly grassroots-based coalitions that are actually funded by an industry trade association or public relations firm.
Citizens for Fire Safety: The Chemical Industry’s Front Group
Chemical manufacturers spent over eight million dollars to kill a toxic furniture ban in 2007 and they are at it again. The four principal corporations that manufacture PBDEs are Albemarle, Israel Chemicals Limited (ICL), Chemtura, and Tosoh. When they saw that some of their flame retardant products were coming under regulatory pressure, they contracted with Burson-Marsteller, the giant global public relations firm, to change public and legislative perceptions about the hazards associated with PBDEs.
A recent report by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission couldn’t find a single incident of death caused by children’s furniture that burned, and no evidence exists that in the 30 years since this law’s adoption that any measurable benefit in terms of actual fire protection ‘ such as incidence or severity of fire or fire-related mortality or injury has been achieved.
The Facts: Toxic Flame Retardants and Fire Safety
‘ Children’s products such as strollers and changing pads do not pose a fire hazard. According the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there is no evidence that these toxic chemicals actually reduce fire deaths in California; they just slow them for an estimated six to twelve seconds.
‘ Fire deaths declined by 38% in California from 1980 to 1999; but the decline was similar or even greater in other states that don’t have standards leading to the use of these toxic chemicals. Considering that most victims of fires die from smoke inhalation and not the actual flames, alternative fire-fighting measures like smoke detectors and sprinkler systems have proven more effective.
Scientists and public health officials are now extremely concerned about the serious health impacts to firefighters, the public, and the environment from the use of these chemicals in a wide range of consumer products, including baby and children’s products. Worse, the chemical industry is not required to do any health studies before introducing these chemicals into our homes.
Last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued statements strongly discouraging the use of fire retardant in home furniture, including baby products. The federal agency’s scientists cited numerous studies linking fire retardant exposure to cancer, birth defects, reproductive problems, thyroid disorders, hyperactivity, learning disabilities and a plethora of other health concerns.