Big Breakthrough in Toxic Furniture
June 19th, 2012
After five years of resistance from chemical manufacturers, we scored a breakthrough in the fight to remove toxics from furniture sold in California.
The Consumer Federation of California and a coalition of firefighters, public health officers, environmental groups, parents, scientists and many others have been working to change a 37 year old state regulation that saturated California homes with toxic flame retardant chemicals. Read more here.
Governor Jerry Brown issued a statement on June 18th calling on state regulators to revise the standard that has loaded upholstered furniture sold in our state with chlorinated or brominated flame retardant chemicals.
This is an important victory for consumers and we applaud Governor Brown’s decision.
While evidence shows that these chemicals don’t stop fires, they do migrate into the dust in our homes, and from there, into our bodies. The blood streams of pregnant women and toddlers in California have the world’s highest levels of fire retardant chemicals linked to neurological damage, reproductive harm and other harm to human health and the environment. When these chemicals smolder they release dioxin and furan, which are linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and brain cancer that occur at elevated rates among firefighters exposed to this toxic smoke. Click here to read more.
The California standard affects other states because most furniture sold in the US is California compliant.
The good news is that an alternative non-toxic furniture flammability safety standard has been developed by safety experts. Chemical manufacturers spent $23 million in California, stopping five separate pieces of legislation that would have required adoption of a non-toxic regulation.
The turning point came when a remarkable exposé in the Chicago Tribune last month revealed the long campaign of flame retardant manufacturers’ lies, intimidation and influence peddling.
While this is a milestone – the fight isn’t over. The chemical industry will be working hard in the upcoming months to dilute the new standards and we will be testifying and continuing the fight on behalf of consumers.