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Statement of the Washington Toxics Coalition on State Senate’s Failure to Pass Ban on Toxic Flame Retardants

(Seattle, WA) – Last night, the Washington State Senate failed to pass legislation to ban two cancer-causing flame retardants currently used in children’s car seats, changing pads, and other foam products. The bill, HB 2821, passed the House last Friday with a bipartisan vote of 60- 34. It was sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle).  Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-Vashon) introduced a companion Senate bill.

The flame retardants, TCEP and chlorinated Tris, have been detected in children’s items made of polyurethane foam, including nursing pillows, car seats, and changing table pads. One of the flame retardants, chlorinated Tris, was recently found in 80 percent of children’s products tested. People are exposed to the chemicals when they escape from the products, contaminate house dust, and then are ingested or inhaled in homes.

The following is a statement of Ivy Sager-Rosenthal, campaign director for the Washington Toxics Coalition:

“The Senate’s inaction on this bill means children will continue to sit and lay on cancer-causing toxic flame retardants for another year. Children’s health is the loser today.

Toxic fame retardants like chlorinated Tris have no business in our homes. Scientists and government agencies have determined these chemicals are bad for our health. Children’s health should come before chemical industry profits.

Despite what the makers of these chemicals and their allies, including major retailers Target, Walmart, and Johnson & Johnson, would have us believe, protecting children from fire doesn’t require exposing them to toxic chemicals.  Safer alternatives to the chemicals are already in use by some companies.

More than 45 health, community and environmental organizations, including the Washington State Fire Chiefs, Washington State Council of Fire Fighters, and the Washington State Nurses Association, supported this bill because they know we can protect kids from fire and cancer-causing chemicals at the same time.

We thank all of the legislators who worked tirelessly to move this important legislation forward. A special thank you to the bill’s prime sponsors Sen. Sharon Nelson and Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, as well as Reps. Zack Hudgins, Dave Upthegrove, Ross Hunter, Marcie Maxwell, Kevin Van De Wege, Larry Springer, and Brian Sullivan, and Speaker Frank Chopp for their leadership on this issue.”

Background on HB 2821: HB 2821 would have banned two cancer-causing flame retardants, TCEP and chlorinated Tris (TDCPP), in products intended for children 12 years and younger beginning July 1, 2014.

Background on chlorinated Tris: Chlorinated Tris (TDCPP) is one of the most widely used toxic flame retardants on the market. It was removed from children’s pajamas in the 1970s because of health concerns and was recently declared a “known carcinogen” by California. The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission has also concluded that exposure to chlorinated Tris increases cancer risk.

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Stephanie Stohler, [email protected]

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