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Flame Retardants Still On the Hot Seat

Flame retardant-containing products, particularly in children’s products, continue to attract legislative attention.  Minnesota recently enacted SF 1215, which bans the manufacture or  importation of children’s products and residential upholstered furniture containing more than 1,000 parts per million of the following flame retardants:

  • TDCPP (tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate);
  • TCEP (tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate);
  • decaBDE (decabromodiphenyl ether); and
  • HBCDD (hexabromocyclododecane).

The manufacture and importation ban takes effect on July 1, 2018, with a ban on the sale of such products becoming effective July 1, 2019.

Meanwhile the California Senate, with a 30-10 vote, has passed SB 763 which requires permanent labeling of “juvenile products” containing added flame retardants.  The bill builds on: (1) the 2013 amendments on California flammability requirements for furnishings, finalized in  California Technical Bulletin 117 (TB 117-2013) by the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation; and (2) SB 1019,  enacted in 2014 and imposes similar labeling requirements.  (See GLO’s blog on SB 1019.).  SB 763 now goes to the California Assembly.

Under SB 763, “juvenile product” means “a product subject to the Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation Act and intended for use by infants and children under 12 years of age, such as a bassinet, booster seat, infant car seat, changing pad, floor play mat, highchair, highchair pad, infant bouncer, infant carrier, infant seat, infant swing, infant walker, nursing pad, nursing pillow, playpen side pad, playard, portable hook-on chair, stroller, children’s nap mat, and infant foam crib mattress.”

“Flame retardant” is defined broadly as “any chemical or chemical compound for which a functional use is to resist or inhibit the spread of fire,” and “added flame retardant” means “flame retardant chemicals that are present in any juvenile product or component thereof at levels above 1,000 parts per million.”

If SB 763 is enacted, manufacturers of juvenile products sold in California will have to affix permanent labels, similar to those required by SB 1019, with the following text, including an affirmation of whether the product contains, or does not contain, added flame retardant chemicals:

“The State of California has determined that this product does not pose a serious fire hazard. The state has identified many flame retardant chemicals as being known to, or strongly suspected of, adversely impacting human health or development.

This product:
____contains added flame retardant chemicals
____contains NO added flame retardant chemicals”

Ms. Grimaldi maintains a diverse environmental law practice focusing on chemical and product regulation and litigation defense. Her practice areas include Proposition 65, California's Safer Consumer Products Regulations, California's Rigid Plastic Packaging Container Act and the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. Ms. Grimaldi graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law magna cum laude and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Bacteriology from University of California, Davis. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a research assistant in laboratories at the University of California, San Francisco Cancer Research Institute and at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.