Firm to list companies that come up ‘clean' on Prop 65
Janice Chamberlain -- Furniture Today, April 18, 2013
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Proposition 65 legal firm The Chanler Group says it plans to publish a list of furniture manufacturers that have come up "clean" in testing for toxic flame retardants.
The Chanler Group has served more than 100 sixty-day notices of violation on furniture manufacturers alleging the presence of the flame retardant chemicals TDCPP and TCEP in their products, according to Clifford Chanler, founder of The Chanler Group.
Thus far in 2013, about 140 total notices for furniture violations of Prop 65 have been issued.
The notices filed give furniture suppliers 60 days to respond, after which the attorney general can decide to pursue civil cases. As the first 60-day notices expired last month, the first civil court case complaints followed.
Prop 65 is a state law requiring point-of-sale notification by manufacturers to consumers of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer, birth defects or from reproductive harm. The law, passed in 1986, doesn't require elimination of the chemical, but allows citizen plaintiffs to cite companies for lack of proper notice for listed chemicals.
TDCPP is used in foam to help meet California's TB 117 upholstery flammability standard - a standard the state is in the process of revising.
The Chanler Group plans to release details soon on the first settlement in a TDCPP Prop 65 notification this year, which should give companies guidance on how the firm will handle complaints, Chanler said.
Several industry suppliers have said they've had little guidance on how to proceed in settling Prop 65 notices this year.
Chanler said Wednesday that the firm has tested about 500 products and just under 60% contained TDCPP. The chemical is commonly found in foam and was added to the state's Prop 65 list in 2011, allowing a year for suppliers and retailers to sell old inventory and floor samples.
Many of the Prop 65 notices filed this year tested foam in ottomans, stools and benches.
Also, of the products tested, just under 20% contained the flame retardant TCEP, or tris chloroethyl phosphate, a Prop 65 chemical since 1992 and one of the chemicals the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified for a full risk assessment this year.
More than 30 Prop 65 notices have been filed this year for TCEP, mostly upholstered furniture items.
Of the companies tested for the presence of Prop 65 listed chemical flame retardants, only one third have come up "clean of Prop65 listed chemicals," said Chanler.
"For every three products we've tested, two contained flame retardant chemicals that are regulated by Prop 65 and one in five products also contained TCEP," he said.
He added that some companies have reformulated their products, or are in the midst of doing so and added warnings.
"Eventually we will be publishing a list of all the products that have come up clean, so the consuming public and others can see what products we've tested and which ones don't have any of these regulated flame retardant chemicals," Chanler said.
"We're in the midst of doing that. It's a very huge expenditure. But one that we think will provide more information to the public and it will reward those manufacturers that got onto the reformulation train a lot sooner than others."
He added that likely within the next week, the firm plans to announce its first settlement on TDCPP.
"That will provide definite guidance to the industry. We don't want to have warnings and settlement standards for one company that are radically different than the reformulations standard for the other," Chanler said. "We want to even the playing field and do things as consistently as possible."
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