CPSC Initiates Rulemaking to Ban Some Flame Retardants

In 2015, a group of consumer groups filed a petition with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) seeking to ban under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act the use of non-polymeric organohalogen flame retardants (“ORF”) from children’s products, furniture, mattresses and cases surrounding electronics. The petitioners assert that ORFs migrate from the products and create adverse health effects.

CPSC staff reviewed the petition, and recommended rejecting it, concluding that there was insufficient data supporting the health risks asserted in the petition.

Despite the staff’s recommendation, on September 20, 2017, the Commission voted 3-2 along party lines to grant the petition and initiate a rulemaking. The Commission also directed the staff to convene a Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel to study these chemicals. Finally, the Commission issued guidance recommending against the use of ORFs in the product categories subject to the rulemaking.

As we have reported, the Commission may soon change from a 3-2 Democrat majority to a 3-2 Republican majority. This change in control of the Commission may affect progress on this controversial rulemaking.

This blog was written by Timothy Mullin at Miles & Stockbridge.

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