OLYMPIA – Every day our families are breathing in unnecessary toxic flame retardants that come from our furniture and children’s products. These chemicals are not needed for fire safety, yet they are widely used in our homes. Many of them are linked to serious health problems including cancer and learning disorders. Rep. Kevin Van De Wege introduced HB 1174, the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act which bans 5 toxic flame retardants in furniture and children’s products. It also gives the agencies in our state charged with protecting human health and the environment the authority to ban equally harmful flame retardants that could be used in their place. The bill passed the House tonight with a bipartisan vote of 95-3.
“Our children are important to all of us and keeping them healthy is something that every family wants,” said Rep. Van De Wege from the floor of the House. “This legislation bans harmful flame retardant chemicals in our children’s products, that get into the water stream and into our system.”
These toxic flame retardants escape from their original products, mingle with household dust and are ingested by those in the house. They are a particular concern for infants and small children, who play at floor level where the dust builds up and who naturally mouth the things they find. Firefighters and fire investigators are also susceptible to these chemicals and already face an increased risk of certain cancers. When these toxic flame retardants burn they create highly toxic compounds and the protective equipment used by firefighters does not completely protect them from toxic exposures.
The bill will be sent to the Senate for its consideration.