[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]
E-M:/ PBDE ban in Washington leads the way for Michigan
- Subject: E-M:/ PBDE ban in Washington leads the way for Michigan
- From: Tracey Easthope <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2007 09:59:01 -0400
- Delivered-to: email@example.com
- Delivered-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- List-name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-to: Tracey Easthope <email@example.com>
Title: PBDE ban in Washington leads the way for
A large coalition of environmental activists and health
professional organizations helped push through the nation's first ban
of a brominated flame retardant called decaBDE. Michigan
follow Washington State's lead.
This flame retardant and its breakdown products are building up
in wildlife, in the environment, and in people. Michigan
banned deca's relatives, pentaBDE and octaBDE, but Michigan hasn't yet
taken action on deca, which is the highest production chemical of this
type. These brominated flame retardants share a lot in common
with PCB's, and will be a legacy issue, degrading resources and
requiring costly cleanup, unless action is taken.
Washington State Legislature Passes
First-in-the-Nation Ban on Toxic Flame Retardants
Measure Passes Senate 41 to 8, Goes to Governor
Olympia-The Washington State Legislature has passed the
nation's first ban on all forms of the toxic flame retardants known
as PBDEs. The Senate passed ESHB1024, sponsored by Rep. Ross Hunter
(D-Medina), by a 41 to 8 margin at noon today. Senator Debbie Regala
(D-Tacoma) sponsored the companion bill in the Senate.
"Washington state is leading the way for improving the health
and safety of our children," said Hunter, who has sponsored the
legislation for three years. "We've come up with a common-sense
strategy for preserving fire safety while getting rid of chemicals
like PBDEs that build up in our environment, in our bodies, and even
in mothers' breast milk."
Major manufacturers, including HP, Dell, Sony, Panasonic, and
Phillips, have already stopped using PBDEs in their products. Sen.
Regala applauded the bill's final passage, saying "Companies have
proven that we don't need toxic chemicals like PBDEs to make
effective products. It's up to us at the state level to move the
rest of the industry toward safer practices."
The Washington State Departments of Ecology and Health requested
the legislation, which is supported by Governor Gregoire, three state
fire associations, the Washington State Nurses Association, the
Washington Medical Association, and many others. The bill is the first
one of the four Priorities for a Healthy Washington to head to the
Governor's desk. While other states have passed bans on the penta
and octa forms of PBDEs, which have been phased out of manufacture,
Washington is the first to act on the deca form. Deca has by far the
highest production volume of the PBDE forms.
"Fire fighters are concerned about preventing fires and
reducing exposure to toxic chemicals, because we're on the front
lines in both cases," said Keven Rojecki of the Washington State
Council of Fire Fighters. "Fire fighters are already exposed to so
many deadly carcinogens, it is critical that safer alternatives be
used to ensure products are fire safe. This bill is a victory for
protecting the health of firefighters and the public from harmful
The legislation does the following:
- Bans the use of the penta and octa forms of PBDEs, with limited
exceptions, by 2008
- Bans the use of the deca form in mattresses by 2008
- Bans the use of the deca form in televisions, computers, and
residential upholstered furniture by 2011, as long as a safer,
reasonable, and effective alternative has been identified by the state
departments of Ecology and Health and approved by fire safety
"This legislation is about doing the right thing to protect
families and our environment from the harmful effects of PBDEs,"
said Rep. Skip Priest, R-Federal Way. "We're doing the
responsible thing-banning the chemical and working with alternative
fire retardants so we don't trade one danger for another." Priest
added that he was very concerned about the possible link between PBDEs
and irregular brain development in fetuses. This measure, he says, is
the only sure way to break that connection.
As the measure gained momentum, the bromine industry, the most
significant opponent to the legislation, employed tactics that
included testifying as fire safety organizations and widely
distributing a mailer with misleading information.
"With the passage of this legislation, Washington is a safer
place to raise children," said Laurie Valeriano, Policy Director for
the Washington Toxics Coalition. "Scientific facts and disease
prevention won out today over chemical industry scare tactics and
Three hundred health care professionals signed a letter
supporting the ban on PBDEs, citing harmful health impacts from
PBDEs including learning and behavioral disorders, memory impairments,
disruption of thyroid function, reproductive effects, and cancer. The
letter's authors note that substantial evidence shows the buildup of
PBDEs in people, orca whales, and the environment, and new studies
find that the deca form breaks down into other forms of PBDEs that
have already been phased out.
"This action by the Washington State legislature marks a
crucial step forward for the health, development and learning of
Washington's children." said Barry Lawson, MD, Immediate Past
President of the Washington Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics
said, "By phasing out PBDEs, we can safeguard our children
from exposures to these persistent toxic chemicals and act on our
responsibility to provide them with a healthier future."
"This is truly a case where prevention is essential," said
Judy Huntington, MN, RN, Executive Director of the Washington State
Nurses Association. "By passing this legislation, we are making
vital progress in protecting our state's children, families and
workers from permanent yet preventable harm."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 3, 2007
CONTACT: Laurie Valeriano,
Washington Toxics Coalition, 206-200-2824
Jamie Smith, House
Democratic Caucus, 360-786-7631