22 April 2016
Washington State Bans Five Flame Retardants in Home Furniture and Children’s Products
Washington state has enacted legislation that will ban effective from 1 July 2017 the sale and distribution of children’s products and residential upholstered furniture containing any of the following five toxic flame retardants in amounts greater than 1,000 parts per million: tris(1,3-dichloro-2-22propyl)phosphate (TDCPP), tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (TCEP), decabromodiphenyl ether (Deca-BDE), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), and tetrabromobisphenol A in a form that has not undergone a reactive process and is not covalently bonded to a polymer in a product or product component (referred to in the legislation as “additive TBBPA”). This is the first time a U.S. state has banned the use of TBBPA - a chemical found in car seats, textiles and toys - in children’s products and home furniture.
The term children’s product is defined in the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act as including toys; children’s cosmetics; children’s jewellery; portable infant or child safety seats designed to be attached to an automobile seat; and products designed or intended by the manufacturer to help a child with sucking or teething, to facilitate sleep, relaxation or the feeding of a child, or to be worn as clothing by children. The term children’s jewellery includes jewellery that is made for, marketed for use by or marketed to children under the age of twelve. This includes jewellery (i) represented in its packaging, display or advertising as appropriate for use by children under the age of twelve; (ii) sold in conjunction with, attached to, or packaged together with other products that are packaged, displayed or advertised as appropriate for use by children; (iii) sized for children and not intended for use by adults; or (iv) sold in a vending machine, a retail store, catalogue or website in which a person exclusively offers for sale products that are packaged, displayed or advertised as appropriate for use by children, or a discrete portion of a retail store, catalogue or website in which a person offers for sale products that are packaged, displayed or advertised as appropriate for use by children.
Specifically excluded from the children’s product definition are batteries, slings and catapults, sets of darts with metallic points, toy steam engines, bicycles and tricycles, video toys that can be connected to a video screen and are operated at a nominal voltage exceeding 24 volts, chemistry sets, consumer and children’s electronic products (e.g., personal computers, audio and video equipment, calculators, wireless phones, game consoles, and hand-held devices incorporating a video screen used to access interactive software and their associated peripherals), interactive software intended for leisure and entertainment (e.g., computer games and their storage media, such as compact disks), BB guns, pellet guns, air rifles, snow sporting equipment (e.g., skis, poles, boots, snowboards, sleds and bindings), sporting equipment (e.g., bats, balls, gloves, sticks, pucks and pads), roller skates, scooters, model rockets, athletic shoes with cleats or spikes, and pocket knives and multi-tools.
The legislation also requires the Department of Ecology to consider whether any of the following five flame retardants meets the criteria of a chemical of high concern for children: isopropylated triphenyl phosphate (IPTPP), (2-ethylhexyl)-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB), bis (2-ethylhexyl)-2,3,4,5-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH), tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCPP) and triphenyl phosphate (TPP). Within one year of the Department of Ecology adopting a rule that identifies one of these flame retardants as a chemical of high concern for children, the Department of Health must create a stakeholder advisory committee for any such flame retardant to provide stakeholder input, expertise and additional information in the development of recommendations on policy options for reducing exposure, designating and developing safer substitutes, and restricting or prohibiting the use of the flame retardant.
In a 7 April press release, environmental health group Safer States hailed the passage of the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act and indicated that bills addressing toxic flame retardants are moving through other state legislatures, including in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Alaska and Tennessee.