“EPA’s announcement of a voluntary phase out of the toxic flame retardant deca (BDE) by the only two U.S. deca manufacturers and the largest U.S. importer is a huge victory for children’s health and the environment. Under the agreement, the manufacturers will stop the production, importation, and sales of deca for most uses in the United States over a three-year period. The agreement can be found at: www.epa.gov/oppt/pbde.

Washington state should be especially proud today because its leadership provided momentum for the phase out. Under the leadership of Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48), Sen. Debbie Regala (D-27), Governor Gregoire, and the Department of Ecology, the state adopted one of the first bans in the nation on deca in 2007. The ban took effect on deca in mattresses in 2008 and will be in effect in 2011 for televisions, computers and residential upholstered furniture. Manufacturers will still have to comply with Washington’s law for these products despite the voluntary agreement.

Also today, Representative Chellie Pingree of Maine introduced legislation in Congress to ban deca to ensure the phase out takes place and that replacement flame retardants are safer. We urge Congress to adopt this measure swiftly so that the voluntary agreement is enforceable and any chemical substitutes are safer.  For more information, see http://pingree.house.gov/media-center.shtml

Deca has been linked to variety of health impacts, including developmental and reproductive problems and compromised immune systems. Deca is one of three commercial mixtures in the family of PBDEs. Penta and octa, the two other commercial mixtures, were voluntarily phased out by the chemical industry in 2004. PBDEs have been found as a contaminant in breast milk, people, orca whales, and other wildlife.

The problems with deca illustrate the critical need for reforming the nation’s outdated toxic chemical law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). States, including Washington, Maine, Oregon, have taken the lead to fill the gaps in the federal law that have allowed the indiscriminate use of toxic chemicals in consumer products that are in our homes, schools, and offices. It’s time for Congress to modernize this law and adopt a commonsense law that protects the health of people and the environment, while restoring the public’s confidence in the safety of consumer products.  For more information, see http://saferchemicals.org/

For More Information, Contact: Ivy Sager-Rosenthal, 206-632-1545 x 122

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