You may ask, “Why another article on flame retardants?” The answer is simple:
1) They are in everyone’s home and office and vehicles;
2) They damage your health;
3) Powerful interests hinder and prevent legislation designed to eliminate them.
Let’s start with a few more facts. Persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic flame-retardant chemicals are found everywhere, from animals north of the artic circle to the breast milk of California women (and probably all US women). They persist in the environment and in our bodies, where they are only very slowly eliminated. Body burdens of PBDEs (one class of flame retardant) are ten times higher in U.S. people than in Europeans because PBDEs were long ago banned in Europe, whereas the California law TB 117 requires flame retardants in most flammable products. (Manufacturers follow TB 117 for products sold throughout the U.S.)
Currently there is active legislation in the state of Washington to keep flame retardants (and other toxic chemicals) out of children’s things; it is called the Toxic-Free Kids Act, sponsored by Senator Sharon Nelson. There is concerted opposition to it. The organizations opposing it are:
- The American Chemistry Council
- The Toy Industry Association
- Citizens for Fire Safety (a front organization)
- Personal Care Products Council
- Grocery Manufacturers of America
- Washington Retail Association
- Association of Washington Businesses
(This list is from the Washington Toxics Coalition, Feb. 2012.)
Similar, and broader, legislation is active at the national level. U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg has authored the Safe Chemicals Act of 2012, which recently passed out of committee and onto the Senate floor. Let you senators know how you feel about this issue.
Note. I will be on vacation until August 12.