Flame Retardants: Energy & Commerce Committee to Hold Hearing

DecaBDE continues to find the spotlight, as momentum builds towards its phaseout. Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak have requested information from chemical companies Albemarle Corporation, Chemtura Corporation, and ICL Performance Products on their top-selling flame retardant chemicals, including documentation related to each chemical’s potential health, safety, and environmental effects. The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on Thursday, May 20, 2010, regarding the use and potential impact of flame retardant chemicals.

Flame retardant chemicals, such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), are used in the fabrics, foams, and plastics of various consumer and children’s products and tend to slow the ignition and rate of combustion of fire. Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), chemical manufacturers are not required to perform any toxicity testing on chemicals prior to release into the marketplace. However, the persistent and bioaccumulative nature of flame retardant chemicals raises concerns regarding their impact on human health and the environment. A growing number of peer-reviewed studies suggests a possible link between exposure to certain flame retardant chemicals and neurological, developmental, fertility, and reproductive problems in animals and in humans.

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