California Dumps Flammability Standard That Filled Our Furniture With Toxic Flame Retardants

Citizens for Fire Safety/Promo image

TreeHugger has been complaining for years that flame retardants are a problem because they are bioaccumulative and are being found everywhere, from baby's umbilical cords to polar bears. That they be endocrine disruptors. That they don't even work or even do more harm than good. But the stuff kept being poured into furniture and electronics to meet the California Flammability Standard, that became the de facto national standard.

Now Governor Jerry Brown has thrown the standard out. According to Sarah Janssen at NRDC Switchboard,

Brown made a historic and significant announcement when he directed a state agency to replace an outdated and ineffective flammability standard, TB 117, with an updated standard that will eliminate the use of unnecessary and toxic chemicals while providing better fire safety. Governor Brown has taken a strong position that favors public health over corporate profits. This directive will have a significant public health impact by reducing exposure to toxic chemicals in not just California but across the U.S.

The Governor summarizes the issue:

Toxic flame retardants are found in everything from high chairs to couches and a growing body of evidence suggests that these chemicals harm human health and the environment,” said Governor Brown. “We must find better ways to meet fire safety standards by reducing and eliminating—wherever possible—dangerous chemicals.

Bromine Science and Environmental Forum/Promo image

This is a bold move that will enrage the American Chemistry Council, the Bromine Science and Environmental Forum, (funded by Albemarle Corporation, ICL Industrial Products, Chemtura and Tosoh Corporation.) the Citizens for Fire Safety, , (funded by Albemarle Corporation, Chemtura Corporation and ICL Industrial Products) and possibly even the State of Israel, the biggest exporter of bromine from the Dead Sea.

This is not the end of the issue; I wonder how long it will take for the chemical industry's friends in Congress, so eager to gut LEED, to suddenly decide that this needs federal regulation, to protect the children of course. And Israel. And jobs producing toxic chemicals that nobody needs.

Tags: California | Chemicals | Furniture