Remove chemical hazards from children's products
The Washington House of Representatives should strongly support legislation to keep toxic chemicals out of the materials used in a variety of children's products, from nursing pillows to car seats.
WASHINGTON lawmakers have a strong record of protecting the state's youngest residents from toxic chemicals in products for infants and children.
The opportunity, and duty, continues with 2SSB6120, which is up for a House vote this week. The legislation prohibits the manufacture, sale or distribution of children's products containing the flame retardant chlorinated TRIS in amounts greater than 100 parts per million in any component.
The chemical is a contemporary spinoff of a long banned product in children's pajamas. The variations turn up in plastics, foams and textiles.
Those elements are used in car seats, baby changing pads, nursing pillows and baby carriers. Safer alternatives are available and being used.
A ban originally scheduled for July 2013 was pushed out to July 2014 if the product manufacturers conduct alternatives assessments using approved methodologies. The state Department of Ecology will offer technical assistance.
The chemicals are ostensibly in the product to meet fire safety standards, but associations representing Washington fire chiefs and fire fighters testified in favor of the ban. As did the Washington State Nurses Association.
States from California to New York are taking their own hard looks at the chemical. Safer alternatives are available.
Protecting infants and children means acting in their interests. Lawmakers banned another flame retardant in 2007, set high standards on lead in toys in 2008, and moved to keep harmful chemicals from baby bottles in 2010.
The Washington Toxics Coalition and other environmental organizations have ably made the hazards known, and worked with state Sen. Sharon Nelson and state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, both Seattle Democrats and leaders on this legislation.
A strong vote in the House this week would return the measure to the Senate for another look at tougher provisions. This is an important effort in a session otherwise focused on the budget.