New York is weighing a ban on the sale of items that contain carcinogenic flame retardant chemicals that consumer groups and scientists are worried pose a threat to children and firefighters.
The legislation takes aim at hazardous chemicals found in everyday household items like furniture, mattresses and electronic enclosures.
“Flame retardants targeted by this bill contain carcinogens and pose a serious risk to our children and firefighters,” said Sen. Todd Kaminsky, the chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. “By banning these toxic substances from everyday items in our homes, we will be taking a major step in keeping our families and first responders safe. It is long past time we put our children and firefighters before giant, corporate chemical producers”
The chemicals were added to the items in order to prevent the spread of fires in a home. But the substances have been linked to cancer as well as infertility due and negative effects on fetal and child development. Flame retardant chemicals also pose a risk to firefighters given the heightened amount of carbon monoxide the products release when burned.
The bill has the backing of firefighter organizations in New York as lawmakers seek to pass the measure before the legislative session ends on June 10.
“Our state’s 85,000 volunteer firefighters volunteered to protect their communities, but they did not volunteer to get cancer or face unnecessary exposure to potential cancer-causing toxins,” said Michael Krummenacker, member of the Board of Directors of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York. “Removing unnecessary toxic chemicals from home furnishings has been a priority of FASNY’s for several years and we thank Senator Kaminsky and all of the sponsors in both houses for their continued support of these efforts. With firefighter cancers becoming more and more prevalent, we need to act now to remove these harmful agents from our homes and from the fire environments where our members operate.”