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Minnesota’s Flame Retardant Victory and State Preemption

October 28, 2015

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

October 26, 2015

by Kathleen Schüler

In May of 2015, the Minnesota Legislature quietly passed the nation’s most comprehensive flame retardant product ban to date. The Firefighter and Children Health Protection Act of 2015 bans four toxic flame retardants in upholstered furniture and children’s products effective July 2018. Sure, 2018 may seem far off, but the extended implementation date will allow manufacturers plenty of time to get these chemicals out of their products. The Minnesota Professional Fire Fighters, the Healthy Legacy coalition, and legislative leaders worked hard to get these four flame retardants out of products that expose families to unnecessary and ineffective toxic chemicals in their own homes and expose firefighters to carcinogenic byproducts when they enter burning buildings with these products in them.

Minnesota’s law will not only protect the health of Minnesota families and firefighters, but it will help move the marketplace to phase out these problem chemicals across the country. It is clear that state chemical laws drive the safety of products nationwide and market-wide. However, a current Senate proposal to reform regulation of chemicals at the federal level puts future state laws like this at risk.

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