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Rhode Island Bans Toxic Flame Retardants in Furniture and Bedding Products

Rhode Island recently became only the second U.S. state after Maine to enact a comprehensive ban on toxic flame retardants in certain consumer products. Specifically, beginning on 1 July 2019 no manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer may manufacture, knowingly sell, offer or sale, or distribute for use state-wide any residential upholstered furniture or bedding that contains 100 ppm or more of any organohalogen flame retardant chemical. This includes any chemical containing the element bromine or chlorine bonded to carbon that is added to a plastic, foam or textile. Penalties for non-compliance involve a US$5,000 civil penalty for the first violation as well as a civil penalty of up to US$10,000 for each subsequent violation.

Slated to enter into force on 1 January 2019, Maine’s ban targets the sale and distribution state-wide of upholstered furniture containing in its fabric or other covering, or in its cushioning materials, more than 0.1 percent of a flame retardant chemical or more than 0.1 percent of a mixture that includes flame retardant chemicals. The term “flame retardant chemical” is defined as a chemical or chemical compound for which a functional use is to resist or inhibit the spread of fire. Such chemicals include halogenated, phosphorus-based, nitrogen-based and nanoscale flame retardants, as well as any chemical or chemical compound for which "flame retardant" appears on the substance safety data sheet required under 29 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 1910.1200(g) (2015).

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