WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate whether flame retardant chemicals found in everyday household products put Americans’ health at risk.
“These studies demonstrate that Americans, and particularly children, continue to be exposed to toxic flame retardant chemicals on a daily basis in their homes,” Lautenberg (D-NJ) and 22 other Senate Democrats wrote to EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “This is a serious public health concern that requires a risk assessment by EPA.”
Recent studies have found toxic flame retardant chemicals in a number of everyday household products, such as furniture, electronics, and even children’s products. Most recently, a study released yesterday by the Center for Environmental Health found these chemicals— including Chlorinated tris, which was banned from children’s pajamas in the 1970s—in children’s nap mats, meaning the toxin is present in daycares and homes across the country.
Scientific research has shown that flame retardant chemicals are toxic and are linked to cancer, as well as various neurological and developmental diseases. While these chemicals are purported to make products more flame resistant, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has found that they do not provide any significant protection against the risk of fires in most cases.
Lautenberg is the leader in Congress to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and provide the EPA with the authority to protect Americans from harmful chemicals, such as flame retardants. Lautenberg plans to reintroduce TSCA reform legislation in the coming weeks.
Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jon Tester (D-MT), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), William “Mo” Cowan (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Max Baucus (D-MT), SheldonWhitehouse (D-RI), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined Lautenberg in signing the letter.