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Dangerous Flame Retardant Added to California's List of Dangerous Chemicals

As San Diego product liability attorneys, we know that popular consumer products often contain hidden dangers. Chlorinated Tris is one such danger. Although the flame retardant chemical is commonly used in furniture and baby products, many scientists and safety experts claim it poses serious health risks.

Given its potential toxicity, we are pleased to report that the Carcinogen Identification Committee, a scientific committee appointed by the Governor, recently added TDCPP (chlorinated Tris) to the Proposition 65 list, which requires the publication of a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.

While the listing won’t ban the chemical from use in California, it but could result in a labeling requirement for consumer products containing the chemical. Although the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have reported that chlorinated Tris poses a cancer hazard, companies that manufacture this chemical maintain that it is safe and it is currently used in consumer products.

“The listing of chlorinated tris on Prop 65 is a public health victory. Widespread exposure to this chemical, now officially identified as a cancer-causing chemical, threatens vulnerable populations. This listing should result in labeling requirements for products that contain dangerous levels of this chemical,” said Sarah Janssen, MD, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Flame retardants like Tris leach out of furniture and end up in dust in our homes. We unknowingly inhale and ingest Tris into our bodies,” said Arlene Blum Ph.D., Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley Chemistry Department and Executive Director of the Green Science Policy Institute . “We tested 100 baby products and 100 couches, and found dangerous levels of Tris more often than any other flame retardant.”

Kathy Curtis, LPN, of Clean and Healthy New York, comments, “When chemical makers produce a chemical like Tris to replace other dangerous chemicals, this underscores the need for federal chemical policy reform. Meanwhile, states like California are taking the lead to protect people from these persistent chemicals.”

Moreover, fire scientists say that using Tris (and other organohalogen flame retardants) in furniture and baby products doesn’t make them any safer. Rather, the treated products burn after a few seconds and the chemicals combust, forming toxic gases that cause most fire deaths and injuries.