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Today at a committee hearing, San Francisco Supervisors voted to ban toxic flame retardant chemicals in furniture and children's products, moving the bill forward for consideration by the full board. At CALPIRG, we applaud this move.
Over the last 15 years, we've written reports sounding the alarm about the serious health threats posed by flame retardant chemicals in consumer products. For years, scientific studies have linked flame retardants to serious health problems. Those problems include memory and learning problems in children, decreased IQ, reduced fertility, thyroid cancer, and other unacceptable health risks.
These toxic chemicals can be particularly dangerous because they migrate continuously out of everyday household products into the air and dust we breathe. Children are especially at risk because they come into greater contact with dust than adults. As a result, they have three to five times higher blood levels of these chemicals than their parents.
It's absurd that we, as a society, would allow these toxic chemicals to be used in furniture and baby products – like changing pads, infant carriers, and bassinets – when they aren't even necessary for fire safety.
For the sake of consumers and children's health, it's time to ban these chemicals in furniture and children's products altogether. This new ordinance would put San Francisco at the forefront of efforts to do that.
Today we were proud to stand with Center for Environmental Health, San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation, and other health advocates, and testify in support of this ordinance.
We applaud today's vote and urge the full board to pass this important measure.
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