(Seattle, WA) – The Washington Toxics Coalition (WTC) today petitioned the Washington State Department of Ecology to add the toxic flame retardant chlorinated Tris (TDCPP) to the state’s list of Chemicals of High Concern to Children. Classifying chlorinated Tris as a chemical of high concern to children would trigger the legal requirement that companies using Tris in children’s products report their use to Ecology and the public. WTC filed the petition in response to the state legislature’s failure earlier this year to pass legislation banning the use of toxic Tris flame retardants.
“It is clearer now than ever that chlorinated Tris poses a hazard in our homes and should be replaced with safer methods that really do the job of protecting us from fire,” said Laurie Valeriano, executive director of the WTC. “Until Tris is banned in products, requiring companies to report their use of Tris so parents can make informed decisions about what products to buy for their kids is a good first step.”
Chlorinated Tris is a cancer-causing chemical that is one of the most widely used flame retardants on the market. In a recent study, Hidden Hazards in the Nursery, high levels of TDCPP were found in 80% of children’s products tested, including changing pads, car seats, and bassinet pads.
TDCPP was removed from children’s pajamas in the 1970s because of health concerns. The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission has also concluded that exposure to chlorinated Tris increases cancer risk.
“Chlorinated Tris has been designated as a carcinogen and is present in very high quantities in children’s products,” said Erika Schreder, science director with Washington Toxics Coalition. “It meets the Department of Ecology’s criteria for inclusion on the list of Chemicals of High Concern. Ecology should list the chemical and require reporting as soon as possible.”
WTC’s action came after an investigative series by the Chicago Tribune revealed that the flame retardant industry used deceitful tactics to continue selling toxic flame retardant chemicals. The Tribune investigation revealed new information showing that not only do flame retardants in foam fail to provide any significant protection, but that alternative fire retardant methods are much more effective. The Tribune series can be found at http://media.apps.chicagotribune.com/flames/index.html
During the 2012 special legislative session, the Washington State Senate failed to pass legislation to ban chlorinated Tris as well as another cancer-causing flame retardant, TCEP. The bill, HB 2821, passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 60- 34, but failed to come to a vote in the Senate. It was sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle). Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-Vashon) introduced a companion Senate bill (SB 6630).
“Washington State must continue to be a leader in protecting our babies and children from harmful chemicals,” said Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-Maury Island). “The evidence is clear that TDCPP (Tris) must be added to the list of chemicals of concern and ultimately prohibited from being added to children’s products.”
“Reporting the use of these chemicals is important. However, the only sure way to protect our health is to ban the use of these unnecessary toxic chemicals in products in our homes,” said Valeriano.
Ecology finalized its Chemicals of High Concern to Children list in 2011. Both the listing and reporting requirements are required by the state’s Children’s Safe Product Act, which passed in 2008.