Committee on Children

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5299

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING TOXIC FLAME RETARDANT CHEMICALS IN CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS AND UPHOLSTERED RESIDENTIAL FURNITURE.

Vote Date:

3/8/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/3/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Committee on Children

REASONS FOR BILL:

To protect Connecticut's children from exposure to carcinogens and other potentially harmful chemicals contained in flame retardant chemicals.

***Substitute language as contained in LCO # 2862, changes the effective date of this bill from “October 1, 2016” to “July 1, 2018” and expands exemptions to include ATVs, off-highway motorcycles and consumer electronics.***

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Commissioner Raul Pino, Department of Public Health: submitted testimony in support of the bill, stating that children are exposed to dangerous chemicals in children's products. He also stated that several states have already banned flame retardant chemicals in children's products, and that Connecticut should follow suit.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Joyce Acebo-Raguskas, Milford CT: testified that products containing flame retardants produce more smoke, soot and toxic gases than the fire itself.

Nancy Alderman, Environment and Human Health, Inc.: testified that, “Tris flame retardants were deemed carcinogenic in the 1970's and should never have been allowed in infant

products after that. Forty-five years later we are still working to get them out of children's products”.

Lynne Bonnett, New Haven CT: stated, “All of us carry a body burden from a long exposure to these chemicals.”

Hacah Boros, CT Nurses' Association: stated, “Flame retardant exposure is now linked with cancers and immune suppression, neurological impairments such as learning disorders, lower IQ and hyperactivity…”

Louis Burch, Citizens Campaign for the Environment: testified that flame retardant chemicals contaminate humans and the environment, leading to health and environmental problems.

Susan Eastwood, Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut: testified that Tris, a chemical banned in several states, is present in many children's products and furniture. She discussed alternatives fire prevention measures including sprinklers, smoke detectors and fire-safe cigarettes.

Dr. Sarah Evans, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai: stated that recent studies suggest flame retardant chemicals in children's clothing and furniture have health risks which outweigh any benefits.

Karen Hovan, Stratford CT: submitted testimony, stating “Do what is right”.

Anne Hulick, Clean Water Action: testified that flame retardant chemicals do not stop the spread of fire, and are harmful to children when ignited.

Abigail Levy, Greening our Children: stated, “We now know that these added flame retardants do not actually retard fire and they have the unintended consequence of making kids sick”.

Bette Marafino, President, CT Alliance for Retired Americans: stated that she fears for the safety of her grandchildren with their flame retardant clothing and toys containing potentially harmful materials.

Jose Perez, Southington CT: stated that flame retardant chemicals do not help people survive fires, “The increase of chemicals used in furniture and plastics have made the smoke extremely toxic when these items burn. This increases the risks to firefighter as well as to the residents.”

Pamela Puchalski, Connecticut Council on Occupational Safety and Health: testified that flame retardants are more harmful to children than good, stating, “Flame retardant chemicals have been linked to a variety of nervous system impairments such as seizures, memory loss, and learning problems.”

Mr. & Mrs. Bernardo Rubie: stated they support the bill.

Tom Swan, CT Citizen Action Group: stated, “The chemicals proposed to be phased out in this bill are unnecessary and we believe they cause more harm than they do good”.

Susan Yolen, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England: stated, “Flame retardants have been linked with impaired neurodevelopment, premature delivery, low birth weight and stillbirth”.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Steven Rosario, North American Flame Retardant Alliance: testified that flame retardants in children's products slow the spread of fire and save the lives of many children. He stated that flame retardant chemicals have not been proven to be harmful.

Allison Schumacher, Consumer Technology Association: stated that the bill fails to exempt consumer electronics covered under the term “Children's Products”. She also stated that the bill fails to recognize existing federal regulations governing chemical and consumer product safety.

Reported by: Justin Olson, Assistant Clerk

Alessandra Burgett, Clerk

Date: 3/8/2016