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New Calif. Flammability Standards Will Prevent Exposure to Toxic Chemicals While Improving Fire Safety

For Immediate Release: Friday, November 22, 2013
Contact: Margie Kelly, 541-222-9699, mkelly@breastcancerfund.org, or Shannon Coughlin, 415-336-2246, scoughlin@breastcancerfund.org

SAN FRANCISCO – Gretchen Lee Salter, senior program and policy manager at the Breast Cancer Fund, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s announcement that California will adopt new flammability standards for furniture that will no longer require the use of toxic flame-retardant chemicals.

“Many of us in the environmental health community worked for years for this day—it’s a major victory for public health. Furniture manufacturers use California’s flammability standards for products sold nationwide, which means that by changing the state’s standards Governor Brown is protecting people across the country from dangerous flame-retardant chemicals.

“Exposure to flame-retardant chemicals has been linked to lower IQ, reproductive difficulties, thyroid disease and other health issues. And it’s been shown that these chemicals aren’t actually effective at preventing fires. That didn’t stop the chemical industry from spending millions lobbying against any change to the flammability standards that required use of these chemicals.

“Governor Brown’s leadership made all the difference. These regulations modernize fire safety, while establishing standards for furniture that can be met without the use of flame-retardant chemicals. This victory has real-world implications for workers in furniture manufacturing, pregnant women and children, and all of us. It’s a big win for public health.”  

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The Breast Cancer Fund is part of a broad statewide coalition advocating for safer flammability standards without the use of toxic flame-retardant chemicals.