I wish I could say I was shocked to learn that toxic flame retardants are used in children’s products, such as nap mats and car seats, but I have been aware of the use of such chemicals (which have been linked to cancers, learning disabilities and reproductive harm) and trying to avoid exposure to them, for over 30 years. The chemical, Tris, was removed from children’s sleepwear in the 1970s, due to health concerns, but the same chemical, and/or related, equally or more dangerous chemicals continue to be used in other children’s products. They’re also in our home furniture — couches, mattresses, anything with foam cushions. Our families are exposed to these chemicals when they inhale the dust from the chemicals in the foam. The chemicals persist in the environment and in our bodies, and have been detected in alarmingly high levels, in mother’s breast milk. These chemicals do not make us safer and are not necessary, to protect us from fire in our homes.
Recently the House of Representatives in Olympia voted to ban these harmful chemicals with a strong bipartisan vote. It’s refreshing to see Republicans and Democrats placing our kids’ health above the interests of chemical companies and multi-national corporations.
I encourage the Senate to vote to approve this bill (ESHB1294) and send the same strong bill to the governor’s desk this year.