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WA Toxics Coalition again seeking ban on flame retardant Tris

Five years ago, Washington became the first state in the nation to ban a class of toxic flame retardants known as PBDEs.

Now, evidence is mounting that a widely-used alternative is just as toxic.

A new bill before lawmakers in Olympia would ban the flame retardant called Tris from children’s products and household furniture.

The Toxic Free Kids and Families Act, as it is known, once again tops this year’s hot list from the Environmental Priorities Coalition. They say chlorinated Tris that’s in foam padding is leaking out of all kinds of products and showing up in household dust.

State Senator Sharon Nelson, a Democrat from Maury Island, is a prime sponsor.

“Our baby strollers, our car seats are laden with a chemical that we know is a carcinogen. We know it is a hormone disruptor. And now we know that it’s also in our sofas, in our upholstered chairs, in our homes,” Nelson said.

She was testifying before the House Environment Committee.

Representatives of the state Departments of Health and Ecology testified in favor of the ban, as did associations of firefighters, nurses and faith communities. All say there are safer alternatives.

Three statewide business groups and the American Chemistry Council testified against it, saying the issue should be handled on the federal level.

Mark Johnson is with the Washington Retail Association. He says he represents many companies that have operations in all fifty states.

“And to have patchwork approach across the country is very difficult for them to comply with,” Johnson said.

The bill goes before the state Senate environment committee next week.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to