Consumer Product Safety Commission Warns of
the Toxic Effects of Flame Retardants
New statement provides guidance for manufacturers and consumers of certain products that may contain flame retardants.
The report cautions that pregnant women and children are most affected.
Washington, DC – On September 28, 2017, the Consumer Product Safety Commission approved a statement that provides guidance for users of certain products containing harmful flame retardants. To protect consumers, especially pregnant women and children, from the potential toxic effects of exposure to these chemicals, the Commission recommends that manufacturers of children's products, upholstered furniture, mattresses (and mattress pads), and plastic casings surrounding electronics refrain from intentionally adding flame retardants (“OFRs”) to their products.
"New York is a leader in state-level actions to eliminate toxic flame retardant chemicals," said Kathleen Curtis, executive director of Clean and Healthy New York. "But action by corporate leaders and certain states doesn't go far enough. We applaud the CPSC for taking this necessary federal step," Curtis added"
“We applaud the CPSC’s action today to warn consumers about these harmful chemicals while the agency moves forward with a ban,” said Eve Gartner, Earthjustice co-counsel. “Consumers can’t shop their way out of the problem, which is why a ban is needed. Today’s warning is a good interim step.”
On September 20, 2017, based on the overwhelming scientific evidence presented to date, the Commission voted to initiate rulemaking to fully ban the chemicals in these product categories. A growing body of evidence shows that these chemicals can contribute to cancer, infertility, obesity, lowered IQ and learning problems, and other diseases and disorders.
Evidence also shows how these chemicals enter the environment, get into the human body, and can contribute to health problems across a lifetime. These toxic chemicals migrate out of our products into house dust and indoor air, and subsequently into people. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 90% of Americans have flame retardants in our bodies.
The CPSC’s statement can be found here.
Clean and Healthy New York (CHNY) testified in 2015 about our just-released report "Flame Retardants in Future, Foam, Floors -- Leaders, Laggards, and the Drive for Change" which was instrumental in countering manufacturer comments that bedding no longer contained flame retardants.
In September 2017, CHNY testified again just prior to the vote, highlighting that despite market shifts and state policy advancement, testing shows that these chemicals are still in these common household products.
New York State has been at the forefront in addressing flame retardants in consumer items, with several bans in bills pending legislation, including S.742 (Richie) / A.3368 (Brindisi) – which prohibits the use of chemical flame retardants on residential upholstered furniture.