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Center for Environmental Health wins flame retardant lawsuit

Chemical Watch

29 January 2014 / United States,Priority substances

California Prop 65 flame retardant lawsuit settlement reached

Companies agree to discontinue sales of targeted products

California's Center for Environmental Health (CEH) has settled a lawsuit with 14 companies in which it alleged that their upholstery foam furniture, children’s sleep and other products, contained tris (1,3 dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TDCPP) in violation of Proposition 65 (CW 26 March 2013).

In the settlement, filed in California Superior Court on 24 January 2014, the companies deny any wrongdoing, but agree to discontinue sales of specified products treated with TDCPP. For such products previously sent to retailers, the companies will provide warning labels alerting consumers that the products contain the substance.

According to the settlement, the specified products must also be free of tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) and tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate (TDBPP).

Companies included in the settlement are: Angeles, Belnick (Flash Furniture), Britax, The Children’s Factory, Combi USA, Contour Products, Comfort Products (Relaxzen), Delta Children's Products, Dex Products (dexbaby), Energizer Personal Care (Playtex), Foundations Worldwide (Foundations), Stork Craft (Hampton), Victory Land (Jaclyn Smith) and Williams Sonoma (West Elm).

CEH executive director Michael Green called the agreement “a major victory for parents and other consumers who want furniture that provides true fire safety without any harmful flame retardant chemicals.”

In a statement, Britax said its “products comply with – and often exceed – all current and government regulations.”  Since 1 January 2013, Britax has required that all product components be free of certain halogenated flame retardants. As of 24 January 2014, Britax prohibits any retailer from selling any company products that contain these chemicals. Other companies contacted, including Energizer Personal Care (Playtex) and West Elm, were not able to provide any comment by deadline.

North American Flame Retardant Alliance (Nafra) spokesperson Steve Risotto said, “We are disappointed that the court approved the settlements without considering the broader public policy interests affected by this abuse of Proposition 65 enforcement to restrict the use of non-listed chemicals.” He added that Nafra strongly opposes use of the “private Proposition 65 settlement process” in place of the chemical-listing process “approved by California voters.”