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June 25, 2012

Toxic Flame Retardant Chemicals:
CA Legislature to Hear about Science, Health Hazards

Tuesday June 26th, 1:30pm Room 444 Capitol Bldg

(Sacramento) The California Assembly will hold an informational hearing to examine the effectiveness of the state’s furniture flammability standards and the environmental and health impacts of flame retardant chemicals. The hearing hosted by the Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials will be Tuesday, June 26th at the California State Capitol, Room 444, 1:30 p.m. Pacific.

This is the first legislative hearing in California since the Chicago Tribune revealed the flame retardant chemical industry had used deception in testimony before the legislature in previous years. Legislatures in Alaska, Washington, and other states were given similarly deceptive information that did not represent the modern science of fire safety and health hazards from the toxic chemicals.

California’s obsolete regulation, Technical Bulletin 117 (TB 117) de facto forces toxic flame retardant chemicals into foam in products meant for sale in California. Modern science links the chemicals, which have spread all over the world, to lower IQs, learning and behavioral deficits, infertility, and cancer.

Science and health advocates seek to have TB 117 updated to comply with draft standards developed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. CPSC’s standard does not virtually force manufacturers to use toxic flame retardants in foam for their products.

Last week California Governor Jerry Brown announced he would focus attention on achieving fire safety while eliminating toxic flame retardant chemicals in products.

Witnesses at tomorrow’s hearing include:

Ana Mascareñas, Policy & Communications Director for Physicians for Social Responsibility - Los Angeles, who can address the inadequacies of toxic flame retardants in regard to TB 117, and the disproportionate impacts of chemicals on communities of color and how the flame retardant industry has sought to confuse community leaders by misrepresenting the science.

Andrew McGuire, Executive Director for the Trauma Foundation, is a burn survivor who battled Big Tobacco over fire safe cigarettes and now finds the same public relations individuals and strategies being used by the flame retardant industry to attack science and disinform the public.

Tony Stefani, President of the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation, will address how firefighters are impacted by toxic chemicals in fires.

Bryan Frieders, Battalion Chief, San Gabriel Fire Department, and Public Information Officer, the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.

Koy Wilson, Firefighter, Stockton Fire Department, and 10th District Coordinator, International Association of Fire Fighters Burn Foundation.

Sarah Janssen, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., will be attending the hearing. She is Senior Scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and reproductive health researcher at UCSF, and can explain the studies linking flame retardant chemicals to lower IQ’s, learning and behavioral deficits, infertility, and cancer.

For More Info: http://toxicfreefiresafety.org/CaliforniansForToxicFreeFireSafety.php

Available for Interviews

Martha Dina Argüello, Executive Director, marguello@psr-la.org, and Ana Mascareñas, Policy & Communications Coordinator, amascarenas@psr-la.org, Physicians for Social Responsibility - Los Angeles (PSR-LA); 213 689-9170. Martha and Ana can explain state policy efforts to stop halogenated flame retardants, and efforts by the chemical industry to mislead leaders from communities of color on the science and hazards of the chemicals. Ana is a witness at tomorrow’s hearing.

Arlene Blum Ph.D, Executive Director and Founder, Green Science Policy Institute Arlene@GreenSciencePolicy.org; 510 644-3164. Dr. Blum, a chemist, has been studying and working on halogenated flame retardant chemicals since the 1970s, when her research persuaded officials to remove chlorinated tris from children’s pajamas. She can describe global aspects of HFR contamination, as well as activities in the U.S. and California.

Richard Holober, Executive Director, Consumer Federation of California, holober@consumercal.org; 916 498-9608. Richard can address the dilemma California businesses and consumers have trying to make and buy safer products without halogenated flame retardant chemicals.

Daniel Jacobsen, Legislative Director, Environment California, 916 446-8062 x 105.

Sarah Janssen, MD, Ph.D, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, sjanssen@nrdc.org; 415 875 6126. Dr. Janssen can address health effects linked to exposure to flame retardant chemicals. Dr. Janssen is a witness at tomorrow’s hearing.

Judy Levin, MSW, Pollution Prevention Co-Director, Center for Environmental Health, judy@cehca.org; 510 655-3900 x316, cell: 510 697-3947. Judy can discuss environmental health impacts to children and CEH efforts to change the CA regulation TB 117.

Andrew McGuire, Founder, Trauma Foundation, and Policy Advisor, Green Science Policy Institute, 415 821-8209. Andrew can address how the flame retardant corporations employ the same tactics used by the tobacco industry to defend tobacco, including attacking the science about the hazards of the chemicals. Andrew is a witness at tomorrow’s hearing.

Russell Long, Board Member, Friends of the Earth, russelllong@me.com; 415 302-4824. Russell can talk about the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s stance on standards involving flame retardants and also can address past legislative efforts in CA to restrict the chemicals.

Victoria Rome, Deputy Director of California Advocacy for the Natural Resources Defense Council, vrome@nrdc.org; 415 875-6125. Victoria can discuss the policy of flame retardants in California.

Renee Sharp MS, California Director and Senior Scientist, Environmental Working Group. renee@ewg.org; 510 444-0973 x302, cell: 510 410-9196. Renee can address the health effects linked to flame retardant chemicals and their presence in the human body, dust, and wildlife.

Andria Ventura, Toxics Program Manager, Clean Water Action, aventura@cleanwater.org; 415 369-9166. Andria can address the emergence of flame retardants in our water resources and the difficulty in addressing the contamination.

Carroll Wills, Communications Director, California Professional Firefighters, 916 921-9111, cell 916 799-8148, cwills@cpf.org.