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10/6/2017 General Assembly passes bill to prohibit dangerous chemicals in furniture, bedding and children’s products
STATE HOUSE — The Rhode Island General Assembly has passed legislation introduced by Rep. Michael Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket) and Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick) that would prohibit the sale of furniture, bedding and children’s products that contain certain cancer-causing chemicals. The measure has now become law.

The legislation (2017-H 5082A, 2017-S 0166A) would prohibit the manufacture, sale, and distribution of residential upholstered furniture and upholstered bedding and children’s products that contain certain amounts of a chemical containing the element bromide or chlorine bonded to carbon that is added to a plastic, foam, or textile.

“These chemicals are used in many products today as a flame retardant in furniture and many other products, including infant changing pads,” explained Representative Morin, who serves as a captain in the Woonsocket Fire Department and as assistant deputy state fire marshal. “Not only have these chemicals been proven ineffective, they produce more smoke and toxic gases and have been linked to higher cancer rates and respiratory problems in firefighters. Studies have also shown that children are also at risk from prolonged low-level exposure to these substances.”

The chemicals are used widely as flame retardants in a number of consumer products, including mattresses, furniture foam, consumer electronics, wire insulation, draperies and upholstery. These compounds also have been associated with liver toxicity, thyroid toxicity, and neurodevelopmental toxicity in humans. Molecules from these products are bonding in the air with dust particles and being inhaled by children.

“I’m proud to join Representative Morin in sponsoring this legislation, which will ban these cancer-causing chemicals,” said Senator Satchell. “The safety of children has always been a top priority of the General Assembly, and I’m glad Rhode Island is joining other states in banning a substance that’s so dangerous.”

The bill carries the penalty of a fine not to exceed $5,000 for the first violation, and up to $10,000 for each subsequent violation. The measure now heads to the governor’s office

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903