HBCD alternatives assessment: narrow focus misses large problems

Polymeric flame retardant evaluated as HBCD alternative in Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment (EPA DfE) assessment presents unknown risks and possible undesirable trade-offs In reading the Executive Summary of the recent EPA DfE alternatives assessment it may appear that there is a safer chemical replacement for the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), which is being globally phased out. Unlike HBCD, the replacement is a polymer or polymeric, meaning that many smaller pieces are joined together to make a large molecule,…

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SF Chronicle: Law may cut use of flame retardants in buildings

8 Oct 2013

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a law that may lead to a change in state building standards that would discourage the use of potentially hazardous flame-retardant chemicals. Because of laws passed in the 1970s, the walls of many homes and workplaces built since then contain foam insulation doused with flame retardants.…

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World sees the light and bans HBCD. US stays in the dark.

In a historic decision, over 100 governments from around the world have agreed to list HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane) for global elimination. This ban means you can’t produce it, use it, import it or export it. The ban takes full effect by August 2015. Just as important, countries voted against allowing the recycling of HBCD products, and new building insulation that contains HBCD will require labeling. The goal is to prevent HBCD-containing products from being disposed of improperly or illegally dumped. As…

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KQED Science: An environmental catch-22: fire safety chemicals in insulation pose risks

26 Jun 2013

Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown directed state agencies to reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions through a green building action plan to “shrink the state’s environmental footprint.” The order also mandated using “environmentally preferable products that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing goods that serve the same purpose.”…

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El Cerrito Patch: New Skinner bill opposes flame retardant in building insulation

15 Jan 2013

Saying flame retardants in plastic wall insulation pose a health hazard, state Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner introduced a bill Monday that would express the state Legislature’s intent to enact laws reducing use of the retardants. Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner has introduced a bill in the state Legislature that seeks to reduce flame retardants in building insulation, her office announced Tuesday.…

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Metropolis: Fire Storm

27 Dec 2012

A Chicago Tribune series this past summer, “Playing with Fire,” shed new light on an old but hidden problem – the ubiquity of toxic chemicals embedded in many of the materials used in our indoor environment, halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) for one. Boiled down to the essentials, the issues call out for our attention…

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