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One of the great consumer and public safety success stories in recent years is California’s long-running battle to get toxic chemical flame retardants out of our homes.
For decades, these chemical agents were required to be put into cushions, mattresses and other home furnishings. The goal was fire safety, but retardants were a health hazard for residents and also for firefighters exposed to toxic fumes.
Against a deceptive public relations blitz by chemical companies, California led a national revolution. In 2013, the state updated its flammability standards for furniture to reflect the true dangers of toxic flame retardants. A few years later, California enacted a law requiring all upholstered furniture in the state to have warning labels.
But California’s fight against these health threats to our children and our first responders is still far from complete. The Legislature is considering a bill – Assembly Bill 2998 – that would ban the sale after Jan. 1, 2020 of new upholstered furniture, mattresses, and certain kids’ products containing toxic flame retardants.
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