Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Protect New Yorkers From Harmful Flame Retardant Chemicals in Consumer Products

Governor Kathy Hochul announced the signing of legislation S.4630-B/A.5418-B banning the sale of furniture, mattresses and electronic displays containing certain hazardous flame retardant chemicals associated with a significantly increased risk of neurological injury , hormonal disruption and cancer.

“Far too many household items contain toxic chemicals that put our children and first responders at risk for serious illness,” Governor Hochul said:. “The furniture, mattresses and electronics we buy must be safe and with this signed legislation we can now ensure that when these items are sold in New York they will be free of hazardous materials.”

This bill regulates chemicals in upholstered furniture, mattresses and electronic housing. It helps define terms like halogenated chemicals, organophosphorus chemicals, and organonitrogen chemicals. It prohibits the sale of furniture containing identified flame retardant chemicals. It also imposed a fine of up to $2,500 per day for repeated violations.

Flame retardants are a class of chemicals added to furniture, electronics, and building materials intended to prevent fires. However, many flame retardants are associated with adverse health effects in animals and humans, including adverse effects on the immune system, infertility, cancer and adverse effects on fetal and child development. Children are extremely susceptible to exposure to dangerous chemicals in flame retardants. Flame-retardant chemicals are also difficult to degrade, which means they can remain persistent in the environment or a home for years. By introducing a restriction on the sale of certain products that contain identifiably dangerous flame-retardant chemicals, New Yorkers and their children will not be exposed to dangerous toxins. In addition, these toxic chemicals have limited value, if any, in preventing or suppressing fires, as other states that have passed legislation have stopped fires or encountered new safety concerns related to the removal of those chemicals from products.

Senator Todd Kaminsky said:“Nothing is more important than protecting the health of our children and firefighters from cancer-causing chemicals. By banning these toxins from everyday items in our homes, such as furniture and mattresses, we are taking a big step in preserving our communities. “Proud to lead the fight to put the lives of our families and first responders ahead of corporate profits – and that’s exactly what this law will do. Thank you Governor Hochul for signing this measure.”

Assembly Member Steve Englebright said:“This new law will help protect first responders from unnecessary exposure to harmful chemicals. Smoke inhalation is the leading cause of fire-related deaths. Unfortunately, flame retardants produce toxic chemicals such as hydrogen cyanide that can cause harm if inhaled. This is particularly dangerous for firefighters. the presence of flame retardants in mattresses, furniture and the housings of electronic equipment poses a danger to our family as these chemicals leak out of products and become part of household dust.We inhale these chemicals and our children absorb them on the floor while playing. The chemicals cause adverse health effects including cancer, infertility and damage to our immune system. I would like to thank Governor Hochul for working closely with me to create this life-saving new law.”

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