Examining a Potential Ban on Fire Retardants

  • November 13, 2017
  • Toxic Tort
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Heavily used for years in everything from household furniture to children’s products, cancer-causing flame retardants remain a significant safety threat. Government officials appear to finally be taking this threat seriously, as evidenced by recent action from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. This recent effort was spurred by a 2015 petition filed by several consumer advocacy and environmental groups.

The more you know about dangerous flame retardants, the better you can protect yourself and your family — and the better equipped you’ll be to seek remuneration for related suffering you’ve already endured. Read on to learn more about the Commission’s efforts and why organohalogenated flame retardants are so dangerous.

Hazards Presented By Flame Retardants

Organohalogenated flame retardants (OFRs) are linked to a variety of serious health issues, including cancer, infertility, and developmental disorders. Research highlighted by the National Institute of Health indicates that, by mimicking certain hormones, select flame retardants may harm fetuses or young children. These flame retardants can also prompt early puberty. Unfortunately, flame retardants were essentially ubiquitous until quite recently, to the point that nearly all United States residents have measurable levels of the chemical in their blood.

Regrettable Substitution

Previous efforts attempted to limit the use of a variety of harmful flame retardants, but the chemical industry responded by simply replacing a few harmful products with chemically similar compounds that remain woefully unregulated. This tactic is often referred to as regrettable substitution, as the recently introduced substitute chemicals pose nearly as many problems as their predecessors.

A Long-Awaited Warning

Finally, the United States appears to be on the path to banning the most harmful class of flame retardants. A September 28th notice published in the Federal Register highlighted overwhelming scientific evidence indicating that organohalogenated flame retardants present a significant health issue.

In the aforementioned Federal Register notice, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission advised manufacturers to remove certain flame retardants from their products. The Commission also warned that pregnant women should avoid purchasing or using any products that contain OFRs. A 3-2 vote allowed the Commission to begin banning the harmful compound class.

A Lengthy Process

Unfortunately, the risks are far from over for consumers. The process of banning harmful flame retardants is just beginning and will surely face many obstacles. The commission’s “long and drawn out” process will include convening a body of experts recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. This group will look closely at the full scope of hazards associated with OFRs.

For now, consumers must continue to check labels to determine whether flame retardants exist in their favorite products. Soon, however, these labels will increasingly be marked as not containing the most dangerous flame retardants.

Although admirable, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s efforts do not make up for years of wrongful exposure to harmful flame retardants. Recent actions do, however, grant victims even greater license to pursue justice against negligent manufacturers. Further fuel will be available as the commission’s efforts uncover new data.

Harmed by Flame Retardants? It’s Time to Deliver Justice

On the hunt for a personal injury lawyer with extensive experience in toxic torts? The Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler can help. An aggressive advocate for Maryland residents harmed by negligence, Steve Heisler is the ideal attorney to have in your corner. Call 1-410-625-4878 today to schedule a confidential consultation, or complete our online contact form at your earliest convenience.

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