March 2015: A Big Day for a BIG IDEA


Today is a big day for the Green Science Policy Institute and our colleagues! We have two great pieces of news to share with you.

First, in collaboration with Earth Justice and a coalition of colleagues, we are presenting our BIG IDEA petition to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today. This groundbreaking petition calls for a ban on four categories of household products containing any member of the chemical class of halogenated flame retardants. Here at the Institute, we have been working with outstanding scientists for three years to put together the scientific basis for regulating these harmful chemicals as a class rather than one by one. If successful, our petition could prevent the current cycle of regrettable substitution of a toxic chemical with a chemical cousin that has similar properties. This could set a new legal and policy precedent and go a long way towards protecting our health from the most harmful classes of chemicals. Does this sound like a “Big Idea” to you? You can read more about the petition below and view informative short webinars on Six Classes containing harmful chemicals here.

Second, we are happy to announce the defeat of yet another international “Candle standard” that could have led to hundreds of millions of pounds of unneeded flame retardants in electronics cases worldwide. Since 2008, our scientific informationand international network has helped inform standard-making bodies in 40 countries about the lack of fire safety benefit and toxicity of the flame retardants. This ill-advised standard, that could have harmed global health, environment, and the recycling of electrics, was voted down by a significant measure. You can learn more here.

Thanks, as always, for your interest and invaluable support,
Arlene and the Green Science Policy team

P. S.: Eve Gartner and my editorial today in the Hill is here.

Home is where the harm can be -And the BIG IDEA can change that!

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons Copyright © 2008 sean dreilinger

It’s a sad fact: common household items can contain some of the most toxic chemicals in use today. Consider the halogenated flame retardant chemicals found in the bodies of over 97% of US residents. Despite being associated with cancer, infertility, reduced IQ in children, learning deficits, hormone disruption, and lowered immunity, they continue to be used in consumer products. A very unfortunate part of their use is that young children have three to five times higher levels of these toxic flame retardants in their bodies compared to their parents-exactly when their developing brains and reproductive organs are the most vulnerable.
And the chemicals don’t even work as promised to reduce furniture fires!
Today, a game-changing petition to reduce flame retardants in children’s products, furniture, mattresses and electronics’ cases has been submitted to the CPSC by a broad coalition including pediatricians, firefighters, scientists, and groups that work on behalf of children, people with learning disabilities, vulnerable populations, workers and consumers. In addition, 13 scientists and medical doctors have submitted statements to the CPSC supporting this petition.
You can read the informative statements by the petitioners and scientists who support the petition on our new BIG IDEA webpage.

Consider helping us spread the word about this groundbreaking effort by sharing the following tweets:

  • @USCPSC can ban #home products with #toxic #FlameRetardants linked to #learningdisabilities in #children and #cancer
  • Scientists, firefighters, doctors ask @USCPSC to ban #home products containing class of #Toxic #FlameRetardants
  • UNACCEPTABLE: #Toxic #FlameRetardants are in our #homes and bodies. @USCPSC can #change that

Safer Sofa Foam Exchange

mar3Give your sofa a face-lift while reducing your exposure to unhealthy flame retardants. 80-100% of flame retardants in sofas are in the foam inside removable cushions.

The benefits of replacing old foam in your sofa for new flame retardant-free material include:
  • Reducing your exposure to flame retardants
  • Saving costs as compared to buying a new sofa
  • Preventing your old sofa that contains harmful chemicals from ending up in a landfill or low income community

For those living in the San Francisco Bay Area, sign up here to learn where you can exchange your foam.

For those in other regions, contact your local foam stores and inquire about replacing the foam in your sofa with foam without added flame retardants.

Check it out!
  • Read about the Safer Sofa Foam Exchange on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • View this ConsumerWatch reporter swapping out her flame-retarded cushions here.
  • Email questions to [email protected].