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Eliminating Toxic Flame Retardants -- PASSED


One of Four 2007 Priorities for a Healthy Washington
(Passes Senate -- April 3rd on a 41-8 vote. Passed the House on a 71-24 vote on February 16th.)

This bill now goes to the Governor. See the April 3rd press release on the bill's passage.


The Need

Common household products such as televisions, computer, furniture, and carpeting needlessly expose our children to chemicals known as toxic flame retardants or PBDEs. Very similar to the now banned PCBs, these chemicals leach out of products and are rapidly increasing in mother’s milk, orca whales, and our bodies. Major public health organizations like the Washington State Nurses Association and the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics understand this threat to our children and support elimination of all PBDEs. It is past time to safeguard our homes and children from exposure to these
hazardous chemicals in our consumer products, especially where safer alternatives that meet fire safety standards are widely available.
 
The Proposal
HB 1024/SB 5034 are Department of Ecology agency request legislation. The bill will:

  • Ban two forms of PBDEs (penta and octa) in consumer products by January 1, 2008 with limited exceptions.
  • Ban the third form of PBDE (deca) in mattresses by January 1, 2008. A new Consumer Product Safety     Commission fire safety standard has gone into effect, which allows the use of deca to meet the standard. According to the Department of Health, there are safer chemical (e.g. boric acid) and non-chemical approaches (inherently flame resistant material barriers) that meet the standard and are in use.
  •  Phase out deca in televisions, computers and residential upholstered furniture by January 2011 if:
    • a) By December 2008, the departments of Ecology and Health find that a safer alternative to deca is available at a cost and in sufficient quantity to permit manufacturers to produce an economically viable product; AND
    • b) A committee made up of 5 fire association representatives determines the alternatives meet appropriate fire safety standards.
  • Require the Department of Ecology to report back to the legislature on other uses of PBDEs and to work with state agencies on purchasing PBDE-free products.


Benefits

  • Provides an environment free of toxic PBDEs has great implications for the future of our children and Washington state.
  • Protects people from neurotoxins that can impact learning, memory and behavior, thereby allowing our children to reach their full potential.
  • Protects us from fire since PBDEs are NOT used in children’s clothing and safer effective alternatives are already in use by numerous companies.
  • Provides incentives for businesses that have shown leadership in phasing out the use of PBDEs.


Contact:  Laurie Valeriano, Washington Toxics Coalition, 206-632-1545, ext 114

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