"Toxic Flame Retardant May Get a Reprieve"

"U.S. manufacturers have agreed to stop making the dangerous chemical; other industries and the Pentagon are urging EPA to delay proposed ban."

"After years of study, scientists in the U.S. and Europe had reached an alarming conclusion: Flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, build up in blood and breast milk, interfere with natural hormones, trigger reproductive problems and cause developmental and neurological damage.

Under pressure from federal and state regulators, the leading makers of the chemicals stopped making two PBDEs in 2005 and vowed to shut down production of another by the end of next year.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also began pushing rules that would make it practically impossible to sell imported and recycled products made with the flame retardants. The rules are supported not only by health advocates and environmental groups but by the three major manufacturers of PBDEs.

But after promoting the rules as a significant public health achievement, the EPA has delayed making them final amid fierce opposition from influential industries. Trade groups for automakers, military contractors, aerospace companies, appliance manufacturers and clothing companies are fighting behind the scenes in Washington to scrap the rules, postpone when they take effect or rewrite them to allow PBDEs in certain products."

Michael Hawthorne reports for the Chicago Tribune December 20, 2012.

Source: Chicago Tribune, 12/20/2012