CA Dumps Toxic Flame Retardants That Fill Our Furniture


Written by Lloyd Alter

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Brown made a historic and significant announcement when he directed a state agency to replace an outdated and ineffective flammability standard, TB 117, with an updated standard that will eliminate the use of unnecessary and toxic chemicals while providing better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.

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.

This post was republished with permission from TreeHugger.


Related Stories:

Flame Retardants in Your Furniture

8 Deadly Toxins Found In Your Cheap Jewelry

Going to the Office? Be Careful, It Is A Chemical Soup


Photo from aileron via flickr


Inna P.
Inna P5 years ago

Excellent news! Finally someone with guts and common sense.

Sarah J.
Sarah J.5 years ago

David R, would love to give you a green star but I have no friends! So I'll simply comment on seconding the motion to use hemp.

Miranda Parkinson

It's so good to be informed about all these harmful processes that are used to "protect " us but are causing so much harm! Gosh it's nearly everything! We put our trust in so much, little realiz

ing the hidden dangers. Thanks to articles like these, we can do the necessary.

Linda T.
Linda T5 years ago

Wishing CA the best of luck on the GMO labeling vote in the fall too. Oh, and when you gonna ban fluoridated water in your state?

Troy G.
Troy Grant5 years ago

Thank you Governor Brown

JK Bogdanove
Judith Bogdanove5 years ago

...and Israel????!! Why is that inserted into an article about flame retardant chemicals? What kind of insane anti-Semitic bigotry has been oh-so-subtly slipped by the editors?

Nelson Baker
Nelson Baker5 years ago

They should be banned everywhere.

R Anna B.
Renata B5 years ago

At last! I have been saying this for so long. I felt i was the voice in the desert.

David R.
David R.5 years ago

The answer is simple, use Hemp to make the materials and you will have a natural solution. Hemp can be used to make almost anything (especially furniture/bedding) and it is naturally flame retardant (something I have personally tested and proved myself). It will catch fire, but then extinguish itself almost immediately.

Hilary S.
Hilary S5 years ago

BRING IT ON!!!! may this initiative inflame the world to take the same action.