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California FR update: Insulation deemed dangerous too

SAN FRANCISCO — California Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner plans to introduce legislation to reduce flame retardants in foam insulation in the state, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The potentially hazardous chemicals may leach from walls in homes, and don't make structures any safer from fire, according to recent studies from the University of California at Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and other institutions, the story said.

Manufacturers have used the flame retardants to pass flammability tests, the story said, adding that the two most commonly used flame retardants in foam plastic insulation are HBCD and TCPP.

The story quoted Arlene Blum, a co-author of the report and executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute, in the story. Blum will speak at the American Home Furnishings Alliance's 2013 Sustainability Summit on Feb. 20 in Charlotte, N.C.

Blum told the Chronicle that not enough consideration was given to the health effects of chemicals when fire safety standards were created in the 1970s.

"People were worried about fire and came up with standards they thought would help," Blum said.

"They thought, ‘It must be good to have flame retardants. It'll be better.' They didn't check carefully to see if there was a benefit. They didn't think to see the adverse impacts of the chemicals being used to meet the standards."

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