Environmental Health Advocate testifies in House Committee

In her testimony today, VPIRG’s Lauren Hierl explained to the House Committee on Health and Human Services how the chemical industry has been quietly adding an ineffective and cancer-causing flame retardant to couches, cribs and other baby products–like the ones she purchases for her son, Elias.

Three years ago, when facts came to light about the connection between cancer and flame retardant chemicals – and it became clear these chemicals don’t actually protect us from fires – VPIRG ushered in a ban on a commonly-used class of flame retardants called Deca. But instead of simply removing the toxic and ineffective chemical from the products and furniture we use every day, the chemical industry has quietly substituted in the chemically similar and equally-toxic flame retardant, chlorinated Tris.

Banning Tris is the quickest way for us to get this toxic chemical threat out of products sold in Vermont, and that’s exactly what VPIRG is pressing for. But enough’s enough. Vermonters deserve a more comprehensive and cautious system for keeping us safe from exposure to toxic chemicals.

There are more than 84,000 different chemicals that—despite the fact they’re registered according to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act—end up in consumer products before they’re tested to ensure safety. In the absence of action at the federal level, it’s up to the legislature to protect Vermonters from known toxins. We need to stop assuming untested, potentially toxic chemicals are innocent until proven guilty.

To ban tris and support sensible chemical regulations, join Lauren and VPIRG in taking action here.