New policy on flame retardants

Gov. Jerry Brown calls for changes to California’s flammability standard

Gov. Jerry Brown has plans to overhaul California’s flammability standard in an effort to reduce the use of flame-retardant chemicals in furniture and baby products.

Tobacco and chemical manufacturers have long promoted the rule known as Technical Bulletin 117, which has not been significantly altered since 1975—though federal and independent researchers have found flame retardants provide little or no protection from fires, according to the Chicago Tribune. Some chemicals commonly used in couches and easy chairs have been linked to cancer and developmental, fertility and neurological problems. The state plans to release a proposal in August, while hearings and responses to public comment could push a final decision back a year.

The revised rule would have national implications, as many manufacturers apply California’s flammability standard to their products.