Vermont to Regulate More Flame Retardants

In 2009, Vermont enacted Act 61 (9 V.S.A. § 2971) limiting “brominated” flame retardants—sometimes called PBDEs—in certain consumer products. Concerns have been raised about these chemicals’ effects on the human nervous and endocrine systems.

Specifically, Act 61 prohibited any person from offering or distributing for sale, distributing for promotional purposes, or knowingly selling at retail (1) as of July 1, 2010, any product containing more than 0.1 percent by weight of the flame retardants octaBDE or pentaBDE; (2) as of July 1, 2010 (except for inventory purchased before July 1, 2009), any mattress, mattress pad, or upholstered furniture containing more than 0.1 percent by weight of decaBDE; and (3) as of July 1, 2012 (except for inventory purchased before July 1, 2009), any television or computer with a plastic casing containing more than 0.1 percent by weight of decaBDE. These prohibitions do not apply to used products or to motor vehicles or their part

The Vermont House has now passed a law to additionally regulate the chlorinated flame retardants known as Tris (TCEP or TDCPP) in household items and children’s products.

The bill outlines a phased-in approach that would (i) as of July 1, 2013, prohibit manufacturers from making, selling or distributing children’s products or residential upholstered furniture that contains chlorinated Tris in any product component in an amount greater than 0.1 percent by weight, and (ii) as of July 1, 2014, prohibit retailers from selling children’s products or residential upholstered furniture containing chlorinated Tris in any product component in an amount greater than 1,0.1 percent by weight.

The Tris chemicals are reportedly linked to cancer, neurological impacts, reproductive harm and developmental impacts in children.

The Vermont law is one of the most stringent regulations of flame retardant materials in the country.

The VT House version of the law can be found at http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2014/journal/HJ130507.pdf#page=11.

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