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Federal Legislation Would Prohibit Flame Retardants in Children's Products

Congress is currently considering federal legislation that would ban the use of dangerous chemical flame retardants in certain children’s products. The “Children and Firefighters Protections Act of 2014” ( S. 2811) was introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York in September. Child

The proposed bill would ban the 10 worst chemical flame retardants from upholstered furniture and children’s products, such as changing table pads, portable crib mattresses, pajamas, nap mats, and nursing pillows. The 10 flame retardants include: TDCPP, TCEP, TBBPA, decabromodiphenyl ether, antimony trioxide, HBCD, TBPH, TBB, chlorinated paraffins, and TCPP.

According to published studies, long-term exposure to flame retardants has been linked to developmental delays in children, as well as rare cancers in firefighters when the furniture burns and the toxins become airborne. Moreover, they often fail to deter fires.

“It’s a nightmare scenario that is all too real: children are being exposed to highly toxic flame retardants- that can cause cancer and developmental delays – just by lying on a changing table and in their cribs, or even by sitting on the family couch. To boot, these carcinogenic chemicals found in foam are not effective in reducing fire risks,” said Senator Schumer.

In addition to the ten named chemicals, Schumer’s legislation also gives the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) additional authority and requires them to convene a panel to review the safety of all other flame retardants and issue an outright ban.