Becomes first in nation to phase out the toxic chemicals
August 7, 2017,
AUGUSTA, Me. – Maine has passed a law banning all flame retardants in upholstered furniture and has become the first state in the nation to do so.
The new law will take effect Jan. 1, 2019, and prohibits the sale of residential upholstered furniture that contains more than 0.1% of flame retardant chemical or more than 0.1% of a mixture that includes them.
In passing the measure (LD182), both the House and Senate overrode the Governor’s veto by overwhelming margins.
The bill was backed by firefighters groups, as has been the case in other states’ efforts to ban flame retardants, because the chemicals are linked to cancer, and studies show professional firefighters suffer from multiple types of cancer at higher rates than the general population. Flame retardant chemicals are also said to increase the risk of birth defects and learning disabilities in young children.
Safety experts and firefighters have said that flame retardants are not necessary for fire safety or to slow down fires.
The Professional Firefighters of Maine, the American Academy of Pediatrics and several non-government organizations were among many groups that supported the measure.
“No state in the nation requires the use of these toxic chemicals, and most furniture manufacturers have stopped using them for obvious reasons. It is time to get the last remaining companies using these chemicals to stop,” said Beth Ahearn, political director of Maine Conservation Voters.