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Regulations Could Lead To End of Flame Retardants in Furniture

The California Department of Consumer Affairs is proposing regulations that could lead to the end of flame retardant chemicals in furniture.

Aired 3/26/13 on KPBS News.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs is proposing regulations that could lead to the end of flame retardant chemicals in furniture.

The Department held a hearing Tuesday on revised regulations that would require furniture to withstand a “smoldering” fire test rather than an open flame test on foam cushions.

Open flame tests cause manufacturers to use flame retardants that environmentalists argue are toxic.

“There are many teams of health researchers that have shown their links to adverse health effects such as lower I.Q. in children, hormone disruption and cancer,” explained Ana Mascareñas who is with Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The American Chemical Council opposes the revised regulations. It said the revisions would remove an important layer of fire protection. The group argues that any new standard should include an open flame test.

Approval of any final regulations could take a year.

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