Gov. Brown Seeks End to Toxic Couches - NBC Bay Area

Gov. Brown Seeks End to Toxic Couches

Toxic chemicals used to flameproof furniture to be phased out.



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    Couch potatoes poisoned by the very seats on which their posteriors recline have a new champion: Governor Jerry Brown.

    Brown ordered a state agency to halt a decades-old practice that "forces furniture makers to pump pounds of hazardous chemicals" into their recliners, sleepers, and other posts for layabouts, the Bay Citizen reported.

    The state Department of Consumer Affairs sets rules for fire safety, the website reported. These rules require fire-retardant chemicals be used in the manufacture of living room sets.

    Brown countered on Monday, in a nod to research that finds fire safety can be achieved without toxic chemicals: "Fire safety authorities say there are ways to regulate the weave of fabrics and construction of products to reduce fire risk while limiting chemical use," the website reported.

    State agencies have in the past opposed rolling back the use of these chemicals in furniture and other consumer products, the website reported. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment have both "opposed proposed bills that would have limited chemical use," and "in 2008 and 2009, the Department of Consumer Affairs" also opposed efforts to reduce the use of chemicals.

    The chemical industry also opposes the changes, insisting that the chemicals are safe. But at Brown's order, Technical Bulletin 117 -- which requires the use of the flame-safety additives -- will be revised, the Web site reported.