Protecting babies from fire and chemicals - Page 3

"This nonprofit front is just one of the extraordinary efforts of the chemical companies to stop bills of this nature"

Leno voiced concern that the labels will confuse the issue and many amendments have been made about where the labels should be placed.
Although the bill was approved by the full Senate in June, heavy lobbying efforts prevailed in the Assembly and it fell three votes short in the Assembly Appropriations Committee last week. Reconsideration has been granted for next week when the bill will need nine votes before it can proceed to the Assembly floor. If SB 722 does not get nine votes, it will be another year before it can be heard again.


February 11, 2010

I would like to applaud last month’s announcement concerning the development of new fire safety products. This commitment, made to the EPA by several large industry manufacturers, signifies an appropriate and responsible step to protect human health and the environment. Unfortunately, recent legislation introduced in the California State Senate has jeopardized the value of the EPA agreement. SB 772 would immediately ban flame retardants from children’s products. This bill is eligible to be heard in the Assembly in early 2010, and does not offer a strategy for the development of new flame retardant technologies. I feel that fire safety is a national concern, and state efforts like this will only undermine the progress of the federal government and hinder the development of superior technology.

As we make this transition to a new generation of products, we must remain watchful of such legislation that would preemptively ban existing products, leaving communities without adequate fire safety protection in the interim. These unnecessary and harmful bills will leave California communities vulnerable to fires right in the middle of our already dangerous and devastating fire season.

The timeline set by the EPA is the most efficient way to phase out these chemicals in place of their more environmentally friendly successors. The EPA agreement sets forth a rational, effective transition to newer alternatives, while allowing critical services such as police, fire and airlines to continue to use existing fire safety products that are critically important to saving lives. Proactive safety manufacturers have already announced the production of these environmentally-friendly fire retardants which minimize the use of raw materials, energy, byproducts and waste. Hailed by the EPA and several well-respected firefighting organizations, this agreement will undoubtedly prove to be the paramount model of sustainable fire safety in the future.

As a firefighter, I have seen the difference that mere minutes can make in terms of a fire’s severity. With the help of fire retardants, homes and families are saved every day. Flame retardants have stopped thousands of fires from breaking out in residential homes. During this time of progress and development, we cannot place theoretical health risks above the very real risks of injury and death that flame retardant products seek to prevent. Our top priority should be to develop the most effective safety measures while maintaining the highest safety standards.

I encourage all citizens of California and the nation to trust the scientists of the federal environmental agencies and not act precipitously to put our families and children at risk of serious injury or death. You can support the EPA agreement by visiting, a website dedicated to the phase out and development of flame retardants. I believe that an effective national solution to this critical issue is the only solution that is truly safe.


Joe Kerr, President
Orange County Professional Firefighters Association

Posted by Guest on Feb. 11, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

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