Governor Signs CPF-Backed Measure Requiring Disclosure of Toxic Flame Retardants
Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Legislature struck an important blow in the effort to reduce the volume of cancer-causing toxins that threaten the lives and health of firefighters and the people they serve.
Standing up to a furious, big-ticket lobbying blitz by the chemical industry, Gov. Brown has signed Senate Bill 1019, the Flame Retardant Right-to-Know Law. Authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and co-sponsored by CPF, SB 1019 requires that upholstered furniture carry a label that includes information on whether or not it has been treated with chemical flame retardants. The measure won overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses of the Legislature.
“California took a huge step forward last year when it ruled that upholstered furniture can be manufactured without toxic flame retardant chemicals and still be fire safe,” said Senator Leno. “SB 1019 gives consumers what they have demanded for decades – the right to know what is in their furniture and the power to make an informed decision about whether to purchase it.”
The use of chemical flame retardants has come under increasing national attention, as chemical companies have fought to continue their use despite growing evidence that they don’t work. According to a September “white paper” from NFPA, flame retardant foams “did not offer a practically, significantly greater level of open flame safety as did untreated foams.”
While their effect on fires may be small, the health risks associated with these toxins are significant. Medical studies have linked the chemicals in flame retardants with a host of ailments, including diminished brain development in children.
“Every year, firefighters are diagnosed with job-related cancer linked to exposure to these chemicals,” said CPF President Lou Paulson “SB 1019 ensures that every Californian knows whether toxic chemicals are being used in upholstered furniture, with the option to make a safer choice.”
CPF was proud to join a broad coalition of environmental, consumer and business organizations in supporting SB 1019, including the Center for Environmental Health, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Consumer Federation of California.