In the United States, Maine Bans Flame Retardants in Furniture Upholstery

At the beginning of August, the state of Maine issued a Law („An Act To Protect Firefighters by Establishing a Prohibition on the Sale and Distribution of New Upholstered Furniture Containing Certain Flame-retardant Chemicals, LD182) that prohibits the sale of furniture upholstery containing more than 0.1% of a flame retardant. The threshold value applies to individual substances and to mixtures. It takes effect on January 1, 2019.

Numerous groups of firefighters (including the professional firefighters of Maine) and NGOs (including Prevent Harm, the Silent Spring Institute, and the American Academy of Pediatrics) hailed the measure as groundbreaking. The groups regard flame retardants as responsible for the increasing rate of cancer among firefighters.

Opponents of the law, like Republican Governor Paul LePage, argued that not all flame retardants are harmful to health. They also felt that the measure was premature and preempted ongoing scientific studies.

Manufacturers and associations like the North American Flame Retardants Alliance (NAFRA) also criticized the law. They feel that flame retardants can protect citizens in fires and that prohibiting them endangers citizens.

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