State legislature expands flame retardant ban to protect kids

New bill bans more chemicals in upholstered furniture and childrens products

Legislation that just passed in Olympia forces manufactures to find safer ways to make household furniture and products intended for children. The new law expands the list of toxic chemicals that can no longer be used as flame retardants.

Manufacturers routinely use chemical additives to slow down flames when cushions in upholstered furniture comes in contact with a fire source. But when a popular chemical was banned by our state in 2011- it was replaced by other flame retardants that also put families at risk.

The Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act expands the chemical ban by restricting 5 more flame retardants from use in any residential upholstered furniture or product made for kids. The new law takes effect in July of 2017 and also gives the state Department of Health the authority to evaluate other flame retardants pose a potential health risk for children. That authority was previously in the hands of the legislature.

The bill got bipartisan support. According to the Washington Toxics Coalition, it makes Washington the first state to ban TBBPA in upholstery and kids products. TBBPA is one of the most widely used replacement flame retardants in a variety of consumer products.

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