Olympia, WA – New chemical reports filed with the Washington State Department of Ecology show children’s product manufacturer Graco is using the harmful chemical flame retardant TBBPA in its products. TBBPA has been shown to affect thyroid hormone activity in laboratory studies. It may affect nervous system function as well. Graco recently made headlines by pledging to stop using the cancer-causing flame retardant chlorinated Tris in its products.

“Graco’s action is an example of the continuing toxic treadmill of flame retardants. We need to stop this cycle and give companies clear information on which chemicals are acceptable and which ones need to go,” said Erika Schreder, science director, Washington Toxics Coalition.

Children’s health advocates say the new information underscores the need to pass the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act (ESHB 1294), a bill that would prohibit the use of the flame retardant chlorinated Tris in home furniture and children’s products and prevent companies from switching to harmful replacement chemicals, including TBBPA. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 53-44.

The Senate Environment Committee will hear the bill today at 1:30 PM in Senate Hearing Room 4. An amendment has been proposed to remove the ban on chlorinated Tris flame retardants in home furniture, as well as the requirement that only safer replacement chemicals be used.

The new data has galvanized a diverse coalition of supporters of the legislation, including firefighters, doctors, nurses, scientists, children’s advocates, parents, and environmental groups who are concerned the Washington State Senate may weaken the bill. They urged the Senate to pass the compromise version of the bill that passed the House.

“The Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act is Washington’s opportunity to ensure only the safest and most effective replacement flame retardants are used in products in our homes,” said Laurie Valeriano, executive director, Washington Toxics Coalition. “We urge the Senate to pass a strong bill that protects kids and firefighters from harmful chemicals.”

“Firefighters face unavoidable dangers every day. The unnecessary exposure to toxic flame retardants when safer alternatives exist is one that can be eliminated with the passage of ESHB 1294,” said Kelly Fox, president of the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters. “The Washington State Council of Fire Fighters calls on the state senate to protect children and first responders by passing this commonsense legislation.”

“We believe in the use of flame retardants and all prevention efforts, however; we know that there are other reasonable alternatives to using the chemical Tris. This chemical is hazardous and unsafe for our children and should be banned,” said Mike Brown, executive director, Washington Fire Chiefs. The new proposal amendment does not go far enough to protect our children and firefighters.”

“We have gone from a bill that addressed many concerns of the business community, and also put in place protections for the most harmful flame retardant chemicals to a bill that only bans 2 toxic flame retardants – and that’s disappointing,” said Cliff Traisman, state lobbyist for the Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters.

“Our children should be our lawmakers’ top concern,” says Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children’s Alliance. “Too many children are surrounded by toxic chemicals that harm their health. It doesn’t have to be this way. The House has passed strong protections against unnecessary, harmful chemicals in flame retardants. The Senate should do the same.”

“The faith community is united in supporting a strong Toxic Free Kids and Families Act. We are called by God to protect the least of these—our children,” said Rev. Hunt Priest, rector, Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Mercer Island. “Parents can’t be expected to research every chemical in their couches. It is the responsibility of our legislators to make sure only the safest chemicals find their way into Washington homes. We call on our State Senators to get us off the toxic treadmill and protect all God’s children from poisonous chemicals.”

“The fact that these cancer causing flame retardants are still being used in couches and children’s products is outrageous,” said Karen Bowman, RN, Washington State Nurses Association. “This is a public health issue plain and simple. This bill gets us off the toxic treadmill and sends a strong message to manufacturers saying Washington State protects its citizens.”

“As one of the nation’s leading health care provider’s, Planned Parenthood knows that exposure to toxic chemicals is especially harmful for pregnant women, developing fetuses, and children,” said Jennifer Allen, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest. “That’s why we call on the Washington Senate to pass the original version of the Toxic Free Kids and Families Act – to keep our families strong and healthy.”

“El Centro de la Raza urges the Senate to approve a strong Toxic-Free Kids and families Act.  We need to safeguard the health of all children and families across the state of Washington and protect the most vulnerable in our communities by ensuring that Tris is not replaced by other toxic flame retardants that are a concern to the health of our children,” said Estela Ortega, executive director, El Centro de la Raza.

“The carcinogenic chemicals named in this bill pose a significant public health problem in our state,” said Dr. Richard Grady, president, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility.  “We are confident that we can prevent illness and harm by banning the use of these chemicals in everyday products. By passing this bill we can protect the public health of Washington state children and families, relieve pain and suffering for families, and reduce healthcare costs.”

The Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act is sponsored by Rep. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim). The bill as passed by the House does the following:

  • Bans the use of the chemical flame retardants TCEP and TDCPP (chlorinated Tris) in children’s products and home furniture, beginning July 1, 2015.
  • Bans the use of chemical flame retardants that are included on the state’s list of Chemicals of High Concern for Children beginning July 1, 2015.  This list includes TBBPA and can be viewed at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/cspa/chcc.html

Please contact Ivy Sager-Rosenthal, 206-854-7623 to arrange one-on-one interviews

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