TheWashington State Legislature has passed legislation phasing out the use of all forms of the toxic flame retardants known as PBDEs in many household products.
The bill (ESHB1024) does the following:
- Bans the use of the penta and octa forms of PBDEs, with limited exceptions, by 2008
- Bans the use of the deca form in mattresses by 2008
- Bans the use of the deca form in televisions, computers, and residential upholstered furniture by 2011, as long as a safer, reasonable, and effective alternative has been identified by the state departments of Ecology and Health and approved by fire safety officials
The Washington ban does not apply to many deca uses, including in airplanes and vehicles. The ban targets items found in the home because the greatest exposure concerns are for infants and children.
In 2003 California passed a state-wide ban on PBDEs. The ban covered two forms of PBDEs, octa and penta.
Americansare exposed to PBDEs on a daily basis. The chemicals are used in plastics and foams and added to products phones, furniture and electronics to make them flame retardant. Roughly 50,000 metric tons of PBDEs are produced annually world-wide, with 40% of their use in North America. The chemicals are extremely potent thyroid disruptors and may lead to the development of ADHD and low sperm count.
It should be noted that some major manufacturers are voluntarily eliminating the use of PBDEs in their products.
- Full Text of the Washington Bill Phasing out the use of polybrominated diphenyl ethers. on PBDEs (HB 1024) – passed April 2007
- Excellent summary of the PBDE Legislation – prepared by non-partisan legislative staff [also see history of the enactment of the legislation]
- Washington Toxics Coalition
- The Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s has a section with background on PBDE’s