ST. PAUL, Minn.—Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz recently signed a bill that strictly limits the use of flame retardants in products such as mattresses. When the law takes full effect in July 2022, it will be illegal to use more than 1000 ppm organohalogen flame retardants in a range of products, such as furniture, fabric and children's products.
Exemptions include the non-foam components of adult mattresses, and products covered by federal flammability standards.
The bill, which had bipartisan support, was intended to protect firefighters from the potential carcinogenic effects of flame retardants.
"Firefighters are some of our most selfless public servants. We're exposing them to unnecessary risk by sending them into a toxic chemical soup," said state Sen. Jeff Howe, who introduced the bill. "After more than 30 years, we know the flame retardants that are supposed to be saving lives are making the situation more dangerous. (They contribute) to them having cancer rates four times the average person."
Massachusetts, meanwhile, is considering a similar bill. Legislation banning flame retardants was passed by the Massachusetts house and senate last year, but was vetoed by Gov. Charlie Baker in January.