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E-M:/ legislator proposes ban on toxic PBDEs

Enviro-Mich message from "Dave Dempsey" <davemec@voyager.net>

Wednesday, March 6, 2002		(517) 373-2577

Rep. Kolb Introduces Legislation to Ban
Release of PBDEs in Michigan by 2007

	LANSING – A toxic substance similar in health and environmental effects to
PCBs which are already banned in the European Union would be prohibited in
Michigan under legislation introduced today by State Representative Chris
Kolb (D-Ann Arbor).
	House Bills 5775 and 5776 would require disclosure to the Department of
Environmental Quality (DEQ when any polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
are released into the environment. The disclosure would require the amount
and in what products the chemical compound is found. The bill also bans the
release of PBDEs after 2007, unless the DEQ finds no unacceptable risk to
human health or the environment. In addition, the legislation makes
releasing PBDEs or knowingly falsifying a disclosure statement a felony in
	“The European Union already has banned some PBDEs, and now Americans and
Canadians have the highest concentration of these substances in our bodies,”
said Kolb, the ranking Democrat on the House Land Use and Environment
Committee. “Recently, PBDEs have been linked to PCBs in that they cause
cancer, growth and developmental delays, and hormone disruption.”
	PBDEs are flame-retardants used in foam upholstery, computers, appliances,
carpets, plastics, drapes, and several other consumer products.
	Kolb said many scientific studies show that PBDE levels are increasing in
the air, water, food and in human bodies. He added that the DEQ agreed that
PBDE levels in Michigan warrant further study, but he fears that process is
too slow and bureaucratic.
	“We cannot afford the health risks associated with prolonged PBDE
 exposure,” Kolb said. “My legislation provides immediate action by banning
these substances within the next five years.”
	Like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), many PBDEs persist for years in the
food chain and can concentrate in the fatty tissues of humans and animals.
Many health experts are concerned that the level of PBDEs around the World
Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan has caused some of the chronic health
problems experienced by more than 4,000 people who have come in contact with
the air in the area.
	“In 1976, we did the right thing and banned PCBs,” Kolb said. “We must take
steps today to ban PBDEs or experts say they will surpass PCBs as an
environmental and health risk.”


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