Help us Ban 11 Common Toxins

January 02, 2019

On New Year’s Day, in their final acts before gaveling out the 2017-2018 legislative session, the Massachusetts House and Senate enacted H.5024 An Act to Protect, Children, Families and Firefighters, legislation that will ban 11 toxic flame retardants in children’s products, household furniture, and bedding. However, this huge new year’s gift to all Massachusetts families (and in particular firefighters) must be signed by Governor Baker within 10 days for it to become law.
These chemicals have been putting our children and firefighters at risk for decades and it's high time that they are removed from the products that we bring into our homes. We need your help pushing Governor Baker to join the legislature in prioritizing protection for our most vulnerable by signing this bill into law!
 
What you can do right now:
1. Call the Governor’s office at: 617-725-4005
2. Give your name, and, if applicable, organization and constituency you represent.
3. Tell him that you (and your organization, if applicable) want him to sign H.5024 An Act to Protect, Children, Families and Firefighters from harmful flame retardants.
4. Say why you want the bill to be signed. Please give your own reason for supporting the bill or say:

  • Republican House and Senate leadership supported this bill and worked across the aisle to pass it after eight years of hearings and testimony.
  • Children, firefighters, and others should not continue to be exposed to unnecessary toxic chemicals in household products which increase their risk of significant illnesses, including cancer.
  • As a Massachusetts resident (teacher/parent/health professional), I expect the Governor to support this important legislation. 

Toxic flame retardants are not needed to meet modern flammability standards. However, they are often added to highchairs, car seats, nursing pads, furniture, carpet pads, toys, electronics, and many more common household products. These chemicals do not stay in the products; they get out into the dust in our homes, the air that we breathe, and ultimately into our bodies. Children’s developing bodies are much more vulnerable to the health risks associated with flame retardants than adults. Their tendency to touch their faces and mouths add to the danger and put them at even greater risk.
 
Worse yet, firefighters are exposed to flame retardants when they go into burning buildings.
Studies have shown that these flame retardants are linked to cancer, nervous system damage, decreased fertility, and other health problems. Firefighters, public health organizations, parent groups, environmental advocates, and others have been pushing for years to ban them.
 
H.5024 An Act to protect children, families, and firefighters from harmful flame retardants is sponsored by Representative Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge). A parallel bill, S.2555, sponsored by Senator Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton) passed the Senate in May. Yesterday, both branches enacted H.5024--thanks to the leadership of Decker, Creem, Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) and Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Framingham) and support from Minority Leaders Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and Representative Brad Jones (R-North Reading).
 
If this bill is signed by the Governor Baker, Massachusetts will join 13 other states that have already banned one or more toxic flame retardants. In October, the state of California banned four large categories of toxic flame retardants in children’s products, household furniture, and infant and toddler mattresses in a bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown. Please, act now to protect Massachusetts firefighters and families by letting Governor Baker know where you stand. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to MassCOSH’s Executive Director at jodi@masscosh.org.