[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]
E-M:/ Health Advocates Applaud New State Ban on Flame Retardants - Press Release
- Subject: E-M:/ Health Advocates Applaud New State Ban on Flame Retardants - Press Release
- From: Tracey Easthope <email@example.com>
- Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2005 11:56:24 -0500
- Delivered-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delivered-to: email@example.com
- List-name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-to: Tracey Easthope <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Title: Health Advocates Applaud New State Ban on Flame
Health Advocates Applaud New
State Ban on Flame Retardants
New law outlaws two chemicals, but third still subject of
January 4, 2005
Tracey Easthope (734) 663-2400 ext.
James Clift (517) 487-9539
LANSING - State public health advocates and environmental groups today
cheered Governor Granholm's signature of landmark bills banning two
dangerous flame retardants, and urged legislators to move quickly on a
third related chemical.
Health concerns about the flame retardants emerged in 1999 when
Swedish scientists reported that levels of these chemicals in human
breast milk had increased 60-fold between 1972 and 1997. Subsequent
studies found flame retardant levels in American women to be up to ten
times higher than in Sweden and doubling every five years.
Children are also exposed to the chemicals from meat and dairy foods,
from house dust, and possibly from gases that vaporize from household
products using the flame retardants. These chemicals will persist in
their bodies through adulthood.
"This is an important first step to protect Michigan residents from
chemicals found in mother's milk and likely to be dangerous to
people," said Tracey Easthope, Environmental Health Director of the
Ecology Center. "These chemicals can damage the thyroid and
impair the central nervous system, and viable alternatives exist for
Public Acts 526 and 562 ban two kinds of polybrominated diphenyl
ethers (PBDE's) - penta-BDE and octa-BDE, but not a related "deca"
form of the chemical. PBDEs have been used since the 1970s as flame
retardants in plastic and foam consumer products, primarily
electronics, furnishing, and insulation. Structurally, PBDEs are
very similar to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated
biphenyls (PBBs), which were also once used as flame retardants and
insulators. Both PCBs and PBBs are banned or severely restricted
in most countries due to health and environmental effects.
"Now that these bills are law, the Legislature should move swiftly
to complete investigation of the "deca" form and phase it out if
studies confirm it also can cause neurological damage, or breaks down
in the environment into the other banned forms," said James Clift,
Policy Director of the Michigan Environmental Council. "In
order to protect public health, we need to switch quickly to
alternative chemicals that do not pose the same health risks."
The following products usually contain the flame retardant: computers,
television sets, mobile phones, electronics and electrical items,
automotive equipment, construction materials, polyurethane foam
mattresses, cushions, carpets, upholstered furniture, and draperies,
Sections of the new laws were dedicated to
the memory of Mary Beth Doyle, a leading advocate of the flames
retardant ban, who died in a vehicle accident on November 13.
Doyle worked as the Ecology Center' Campaign Director, and was a
long-time colleague of Tracey Easthope's. "Mary Beth would
be pleased to know that the Governor started off the New Year by
signing these bills into law" said Easthope. "She would also
be pleased to see the Legislature next take up proposals to phase out
'deca', and to further address toxic chemicals that threaten the
health of Michigan residents."