California Professional Firefighters

FF Cancer Risk Cited in Bid to Reform Flame Retardant Standard

The chemicals in flame retardants used on furniture in California don’t do much to reduce the spread of a residential fire. They do, however, make that fire a whole lot more dangerous for anyone exposed to it … including firefighters.

CPF- and IAFF-supported efforts to end the use of these cancer-causing toxins to protect furniture in California got a boost from Governor Jerry Brown. Gov. Brown has issued a directive to state regulators instructing them to review and revise California’s decades-old flammability standard.

A growing body of evidence suggests that these chemicals harm human health and the environment,” said Governor Brown. “We must find better ways to meet fire safety standards by reducing and eliminating—wherever possible—dangerous chemicals.”

The current outdated flammability standard – known as Technical Bulletin 117 – virtually mandates the use of cancer-causing chemicals used in the foam of furniture in California.

The increasing use of highly flammable furniture coverings have made residential fires burn hotter, diminishing any potential fire retardant benefit. But the chemicals released in these fires contribute to a toxic mixture that threatens the health of anyone caught inside – fire victims and firefighters alike.

Countless studies document the increased cancer risk faced by firefighters because of on-the-job chemical exposure,” said Lou Paulson, president of California Professional Firefighters.The combustion by-products created by fires involving flame retardants can make these fires even more deadly.”

A recent report in the Chicago Tribune documented deceptive practices used by chemical manufacturers to keep their toxic products on the market.

IAFF has identified elimination of these cancer-causing toxins as "a step in the right direction" for improving the health and safety of firefighters and the public.

CPF is part of a broad-based coalition that also includes cancer researchers, consumer advocates and the scientific advocacy group Physicians for Social Responsibility.

This Tuesday, June 26th, CPF members will participate in a legislative hearing on the issue. CLICK HERE for more information.

"State Lawmakers Zero In on Chemicals in Furniture" -- San Francisco Chronicle

Bookmark and Share