"EPA Probes Flame Retardants But Lacks Power To Ban"

"As the Obama administration launches a broad investigation of flame retardants used in furniture and other household goods, the nation's top environmental regulators are running into the limitations of a federal law that makes it practically impossible to ban hazardous chemicals."

"Even assessing the health risks of some of the flame retardants will be difficult, officials say. The 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, the only major environmental law that hasn't been updated since it was enacted, allows chemical manufacturers to skip evaluating the safety of their products before putting them on the market.

So little is known about 16 of the 20 flame retardants targeted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that officials say they will be forced to estimate potential hazards by running computer models and comparing them with similar chemicals, not by analyzing actual health and safety studies."

Michael Hawthorne reports for the Chicago Tribune April 23, 2013.

Source: Chicago Tribune, 04/23/2013