Landmark FR Bill Passes in Maine
August 03, 2017
Thank you, Maine!
This week, the state of Maine proved its mettle as a champion of public health, passing a ban on all added flame retardant chemicals in new upholstered furniture starting next year. Soon, we can expect to see levels of these toxic chemicals drop in Maine’s waterways, in households…and ultimately, in people’s bodies.
Here’s the best part of the story: it wasn’t just health and environmental experts who wanted to see an end to the practice of adding pounds of toxic chemicals to furniture foam. Firefighters spoke up loud and clear: these unnecessary chemicals only make firefighting more dangerous when the toxic chemicals go up in smoke. Parents, teachers, and citizens all offered their support. And when the bill passed only to be vetoed by Governor LePage? Legislators came together to make health a priority and overturn the veto.
Maine’s action will certainly create healthier environments both indoors and outdoors in the state—but the ripple effects will be felt far beyond its borders. Maine adds to the growing momentum nationwide to reject toxic flame retardants —a momentum we can see in the voluntary action of furniture manufacturers, in other state legislatures passing their own restrictions on flame retardants, in major institutions who have passed corporate policies setting a preference for flame-retardant-free furniture.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection was one dissenting voice against the ban on flame retardants in furniture. Why? Because they fear the cost to the department will be too high. No doubt, with the federal budget for environmental programs in danger of being whittled away, there is good reason for state agencies to be concerned about their ability to do the job. But Maine lawmakers heard their constituencies loud and clear: we don’t want toxic chemicals invading our homes and undermining our health. We believe it is a critical priority—one that has been ignored for years. Now is the time to put health first.
Firefighters spoke up loud and clear: these unnecessary chemicals only make firefighting more dangerous when the toxic chemicals go up in smoke.