Local Toxics Group Feels Threat by National Proposal

By Steve Jackson

Efforts to ban some flame retardants that pose a human health threat failed in the Washington legislature this year. But, proponents of the ban say they will continue efforts next session. In the meantmie, they have serious concerns about a bill introduced in the U.S. Congress, that they say will overturn efforts to protect the public from toxic chemicals.

Randi Abrams-Caras is with the Washington Toxics Coalition. She says the "Chemicals in Congress Act" would roll back bans already put in place in a few states.

Abrams-Caras: "It would roll back existing laws. It would prevent us from moving forward on new laws, because it would prevent the states from doing anything on toxics."

She says Washington state's earlier law that was successfully enacted to restrict the use of the flame retardant PBDE, would be one of the laws overturned by the act. Abrams-Caras says the retardant chemicals have been linked by the science community to a number of health problems.

Abrams-Caras: "Cancer, learning disabilities, brain development and reproductive problems. There is a rise in infertility in the country, and there are some links to endocrine disruptors, so there are reproductive problems."

Her organization is calling on Congress member Cathy McMorris Rodgers to oppose the act. McMorris Rodgers sits on the Energy and Commerce, Environment, and Economy Subcommittee.
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