Photo Credit: Southwest Research Institute
Photo Credit: Southwest Research Institute

ALBANY, NY - New York joins the growing list of states looking to ban the use of chemical flame retardants in residential upholstered furniture.

Introduced earlier this month by New York State Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, A 6557 would also require residential upholstered furniture sold in New York to comply with an open flame standard.

“We know more than ever about the potential health effects posed by flame retardants,” Sweeney said in a statement. “Now that we know how ineffective they are, there is no justification to use them at all in our homes and furniture.”

He added that children are particularly sensitive to these chemicals. "We must apply common sense and refuse to add chemicals, which represent real health risks and do not provide any practical safety benefit."

If passed, beginning July 1, 2014, no residential upholstered furniture "that contains chemical flame retardants intentionally added" could be sold in New York; however, this would not apply to furniture resold or offered for consumer resale. Compliance of the furniture to the Open Flame Flammability Standard would go into effect December 1, 2016.

According to the statement by Assemblyman Sweeney, the legislation is supported by the Firemen's Association of the State of New York, the New York State Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue Association, the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Clean and Healthy New York, and Environmental Advocates of New York.

The proposal by New York follows EPA’s announcement last month that it would conduct risk assessments on 20 flame retardants in addition to other chemicals as part of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The TSCA Work Plan identifies commonly used chemicals for risk assessment. Factors used in determining chemical assessment include: children’s health risks; neurotoxic effects; persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT); probable or known carcinogens; used in children’s products; and detected in biomonitoring programs.

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