Toxic flame retardant chemicals: Governor Brown’s fire safety regulation unveiled

Consumers, environmental health advocates, health professionals, and firefighters applauded Governor Jerry Brown’s new fire safety regulation today.  The draft language of TB 117-2013 was posted for a 45-day public comment period, and aims to improve fire safety without the use of toxic flame retardant chemicals linked to neurodevelopmental impairment, infertility, and cancer.

“All of us carry flame retardant chemicals in our bodies which have been linked to lower IQs in children, infertility and cancer. Getting these chemicals out of our couches will protect everyone’s health,” said Sarah Janssen, MD, PhD, MPH, senior scientist  with Natural Resources Defense Council. “An updated furniture flammability standard is a win-win for millions of people in California.”

“The Brown administration is taking a stand  for safety and health,” commented Ana Mascarenas, with Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles. “Flame retardant chemical manufacturers have spent millions to keep ineffective fire rules in place, defeat restrictions on toxic chemicals, and are trying to get California legislators to pressure Brown now. We need  the public to submit comments over the next 45 days in support of a smart, science-based approach to fire safety without harmful chemicals.”

Richard Holober, with Consumer Federation of California says, “This is an important victory for consumers. For nearly four decades, chemical manufacturers have reaped billions in profits at consumers’ expense. Chemical industry-funded front groups spent $23 million in lobbying and campaign donations in California alone in the past five years – stopping attempts to change the toxic and ineffective furniture flammability regulation called TB 117. We are pleased that Governor Brown has taken the important step forward to transform an obsolete regulation which follows the advice of safety experts ‘ not chemical manufacturers.”

In December,  the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) found flame retardant chemicals, including the cancer-causing flame retardant chemical chlorinated Tris, in products for infants and young children. Judy Levin, with  CEH, remarked, “Children and their parents shouldn’t have to worry about toxic chemicals while their children sleep and play. We’re so grateful to Governor Brown and his staff for promoting a fire safety standard that’s based on real fire science and protects public health.”

CA Announcement:

Californians for Toxic Free Fire Safety: