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Next-Generation Flame Retardants Under Scrutiny In Olympia

Washington Toxics Coalition
Erika Schreder, science director, Washington Toxics Coalition fits a participant with an pump and filter for the study.

In 2007, the State Legislature banned certain chemicals used to fire-proof things like mattresses and children’s car seats. But a study from an advocacy group suggests the replacements may be more harmful than previously believed.

The study found the new generation of flame retardants are floating around in the air we breathe. They’re easy to inhale, unlike the now-banned substances which were primarily ingested through household dust. The findings could inform an important conversation this week – as legislators explore a bill on toxic flame retardants. The bill would shift responsibility for monitoring these chemicals to the Department of Health.

Erika Schreder with the Washington Toxics Coalition says currently legislative action is required to ban toxic flame retardants, one at a time.

“On the other hand, our Department of Health is made up of public health experts and they’re really better suited to carefully examine the information that we have about the concerns about these flame retardants and make careful decisions on which flame retardants should be restricted in consumer products,” says Schreder.

Last year, similar legislation passed with bipartisan support, but only in the House. Advocates hope putting the process in the hands of the health department could make the difference this time around.