"California Pushes Rule Banning Toxic Flame Retardants"

"SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California officials vowed Tuesday to move forward on a new fire safety rule that could eliminate the use of toxic flame retardants in household furniture and baby products sold nationwide."

"At a public hearing on the proposed standard, what was most striking was what didn't happen. Unlike previous forums on the issue, no witnesses for the chemical industry presented dramatic testimony about children dying in fires or videos of couches engulfed in flames.

Instead, a single consultant for a group representing the manufacturers of flame retardants disputed technical details of the proposal and said it would not adequately protect people from furniture fires.

The proposed changes would require upholstery fabric to resist cigarettes and other smoldering items — the biggest cause of furniture fires. California currently requires the foam cushioning underneath to withstand a candlelike flame for 12 seconds, a standard manufacturers typically meet by adding flame-retardant chemicals to furniture sold nationwide.

The rule also has been applied to baby products such as diaper-changing pads, highchairs and nursery rockers."

Michael Hawthrone reports for the Chicago Tribune March 27, 2013.

Source: Chicago Tribune, 03/27/2013