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California lists flame retardant as a carcinogen

October 12, 2011 |  3:44 pm

Prop 65

A state science panel voted Wednesday to place a commonly used flame retardant on California's Proposition 65 list of cancer-causing chemicals.

The action does not ban chlorinated Tris (TDCPP), which is found in foam furniture cushions, auto seats and a variety of baby products, but it will require warning labels that the products contain carcinogens.

TDCPP was withdrawn from use in children's sleepwear in the late 1970s but resurfaced in a number of products as a substitute for other flame retardants banned in California within the last decade.

Manufacturing representatives argued against the listing at an Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment meeting, saying there was no evidence that the chemical causes cancer in humans. But after hearing testimony that TDCPP has been found to cause tumors in rats, a science committee voted 5 to 1 to list the chemical as a carcinogen.

“It's really important because it brings the public's attention to the fact that there are these cancer causing flame retardants in their furniture, and nursing pillows and kids' strollers,” said Arlene Blum,
executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute, who testified at the hearing.

California product requirements have been a driving force in the use of flame retardants, which have been detected in adults, newborns, domestic pets and birds of prey.        


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Photo: Proposition 65 requires the posting of public notices that warn of potentially harmful substances contained in products sold in California. Flame retardant was added to the Proposition 65 list of cancer-causing chemicals. Credit: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times