SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Firefighters in uniform testified about cancers among them they suspect of being triggered in part by toxic flame retardant chemicals. Scientists described hundreds of emerging studies demonstrating links to lower IQs in children, behavior and learning problems, infertility and cancer. Furniture makers said the chemicals are bad for business. All witnesses testified before the California Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials yesterday to ask protection from toxic flame retardant chemicals. Many witnesses were from Californians for Toxic Free Fire Safety.
"At issue is an obsolete California regulation called TB-117, that, de facto, forces toxic flame retardants into foam in furniture meant for sale in California," explains Davis Baltz, Precautionary Principle Project Director, Commonweal. "Everyone at today's hearing urged fast action to revamp TB-117 with the exception of the discredited industry front group Citizens for Fire Safety. They've been exposed as lying to the California legislature."
The state's Chief of the Bureau of Electronic Appliance Repair, Home Furnishing and Thermal Insulation, Tonya Blood, announced a new draft regulation, TB 117-2012, to soon replace the old standard. The new standard will take an entirely different approach that recognizes the health hazards of chemical flame retardants while still ensuring fire safety.
"There's no skin graft or physical repair for an upper airway burned out by toxic chemicals and contaminants," says Koy Wilson, a Stockton firefighter representing the International Assn. of Fire Fighters' Burn Foundation. "Firefighters face a greater cancer risk because of the job that we do. California needs a standard that works, and doesn't just substitute one chemical for another."
"People of color are also more impacted by toxic flame retardant chemicals from many sources of exposure. We urge Chief Blood to waste no time in developing the new standard with a clear mandate that toxic flame retardant chemicals will not be allowed," comments Martha Dina Arguello, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility - Los Angeles.
Judy Levin, Pollution Prevention Director, Center for Environmental Health, adds, "The chemical industry has been playing a 'toxic shell game' with our health, substituting one hazardous material with another bad chemical. We are heartened that Chief Blood is proposing a tandard based on modern science that can be met without the use of toxic chemicals."
SOURCE Californians For Toxic Free Fire Safety