Mass. governor vetoes flame retardant furniture ban

Gov. Charlie Baker rejected a bill that would have banned the sale of furniture, bedding and children’s clothing if it contained flame-retardant chemicals

By FireRescue1 Staff

BOSTON — The Massachusetts governor vetoed a bill that would have banned the sale of furniture, bedding and children’s products that contain flame-retardant chemicals.

The Boston Globe reported that Gov. Charlie Baker rejected the controversial bill that was passed by legislature after fire service leaders and environmental advocates together said at least 10 common flame-retardant chemicals do little to stop fires and endanger firefighters.

Baker said he vetoed the bill because the federal government already regulates car seats and adult mattresses, and the bill would have made Massachusetts the only state to have such a ban on those products.

Baker added that he would have amended the bill if he had seen it during a regular legislative session, but he was forced to veto it since it was passed during an informal session.

“This ban would go into effect in less than five months, cutting the lead time for manufacturers by more than half as compared to the full year provided in the legislation as originally filed,” he said. “The resulting disruption to what is available to consumers in Massachusetts would likely have a disproportionate impact on families with lower incomes who are less able to afford more expensive alternatives.”

Rep. Marjorie Decker said “the fight is not over.”

“He had the choice to stand with our firefighters, who risk their lives every day so that we can be safe,” she said. “But this fight is not over, and we will be back this session to start this over.”

Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts President Rich MacKinnon said the bill would have been “a step forward” in the fight against cancer.

“The science and research into the adverse health effects on children, families, and firefighters from these toxic chemicals is irrefutable,” he said. “As firefighters, we accept an inherent risk that comes with our profession, but families should not be needlessly put at risk when they purchase children products and household items.”

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