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Kaiser to phase out toxic flame retardants in furniture

Washington, DC – The nation’s number three health care company, Kaiser Permanente, today announced it will effectively ban controversial chemical flame retardants from the furniture it buys for its hundreds of facilities across the country. Kaiser is the first health system in the nation to take this step, throwing $30 million in annual purchasing power for furniture behind its health and safety commitments.

Chemical flame retardants have grown increasingly controversial as scientific evidence mounts linking many of them to reproductive problems, developmental delays, cancer and other health impacts. (A study issued just last week found exposure to a class of flame retardants known as PBDEs had a similar effect to lead in reducing child IQ.) The chemical industry’s elaborate campaign to defend the chemicals was exposed as fraudulent by the Chicago Tribune series “Playing with Fire” in 2012.

Andy Igrejas, director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, said:

“Kaiser continues to lead the way in putting its money behind its commitments to provide a safe environment for its customers and workers. This policy is broad enough, and Kaiser is big enough, that this decision will have a positive impact on public health and the marketplace.

“We call on all retailers that sell furniture, as well as other large institutional purchasers of furniture, to follow Kaiser’s example.”

Today’s announcement was made jointly between Kaiser, Healthcare Without Harm, the Healthier Hospitals Initiative and the Center for Environmental Health. For more information, contact Tony Iallonardo at 202.503.8581 or [email protected] or visit