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Green Science Policy’s projects aim to promote responsible chemicals use and sound, science-based policies. Our work is guided by independent research and scientific integrity. By providing unbiased scientific data to government, industry, and non-governmental organizations, we facilitate informed decision-making about chemicals used in consumer products.
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Flame Retardants in Furniture

An outdated California standard led to the use of harmful and potentially harmful flame retardant chemicals in furniture and baby product foam across North America. A new standard takes effect January 1, 2014. TB117-2013 allows for fire-safe, flame retardant free furniture and baby products.

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Healthy Buildings

For improved energy efficiency, the use of foam plastic insulation materials is increasing in buildings, but outdated insulation flammability standards lead to the addition of flame retardant chemicals that are either known to be toxic or lack adequate information.

We have been working with architects, scientists, builders, policymakers and fire safety experts to find ways to reduce the use of flame retardants in building materials and create healthier buildings.

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Consumer Resources

Information on how to reduce toxics in your home and buy safer products.

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Electronics Standards

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) sets worldwide standards for electronics. Proposed amendments to standards requiring the cases around computers and televisions to resist a candle flame have no valid fire safety rationale and lead to the addition of toxic or inadequately tested flame retardant chemicals to the plastic case.

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Flame Retardants

Flame retardant chemicals are widely used in commercial and consumer products to meet flammability requirements. Many of these chemicals are persistent, bioaccumulative, and/ or toxic, presenting significant risks to human health and the environment.

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Children’s Products

An outdated California standard led to the use of harmful flame retardant chemicals in children’s products containing foam across North America.

As of January 1, 2014, new children’s products will not be required to contain added flame retardants. Consumers should look for a TB117-2013 label and ask retailers for flame retardant-free products. Car seats will continue to contain flame retardants.

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Industry Engagement

The Green Science Policy Institute hosted a workshop for members of the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA), after which BIFMA issued a position paper stating that “BIFMA strongly supports the elimination of fire retardant chemicals of concern in all manufactured products.”

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Past Projects

California Bed Clothing Standard

Status: successfully completed
California Technical Bulletin 604 was a proposed flammability standard for filled bed clothing, including comforters, mattress pads and pillows. In February 2010, based partly on GSP efforts, the California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation (BEARHFTI) suspended its effort to implement TB604.

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Safe Kids Campaign

Status: successfully completed
Because of California flammability standard TB117, toxic flame retardant chemicals have been used in many baby products containing foam.

Thanks is part to work done by the Green Science Policy Institute in 2010-2011, most baby products have been exempted from TB117, preventing the further use of these harmful chemicals in these products.

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China Information Project

Status: not currently active
The production capacity of flame retardants in China has gone from 50 kilotonnes in 1993 to 350 kilotonnes in 2006, and continues to grow rapidly. The market share for the more toxic halogenated fire-retardant chemicals is larger in China than in the EU or U.S.

The Green Science Policy Institute contributed a paper and co-chaired a session on flame retardants at the international Dioxin meeting in Beijing in August 2009.

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Feline Health

Status: not currently active
Since the 1970s, there has been a huge increase in the incidence of hyperthyroid disease in pet cats, which is possibly connected to their exposure to halogenated chemicals. This project brings together veterinarians, epidemiologists, and toxicologists to study feline exposure to halogenated chemicals and potential health impacts.

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