Sen. Terry Gerratana and Rep. Diana Urban – co-chairs of the Select Committee on Children – announced Thursday they will propose a bill to ban baby products that contain Chlorinated Tris from being sold in Connecticut.
Chlorinated Tris, an umbrella term used to describe a growing family of synthetic chemicals that includes TDCPP and TCPP, is a flame retardant used to treat Polyurethane foam. The foam is used in a range of baby products from bassinet pads to car seats.
“The minute they ban one, they add a molecule and incorporate another one,” Urban said said at a state Capitol press conference. “We are one step behind the chemical industry.”
Urban, D- North Stonington, and advocates from the Commission for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut and the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women discussed a Duke University study that found at least one toxic flame retardant in 17 of 20 common baby products tested.
Gerratana, D- New Britain, said that although toxic chemicals are found in many common products, shielding children is of paramount importance.
“Yes we have many toxic chemicals in our every day life, but this one is egregious,” Gerratana said.
She added that the SCC will begin working to bring the bill to a vote soon after the General Assembly reconvenes on Feb. 8.
“We’re going to deal with it appropriately,” Gerratana added.
Baby products that contain toxic flame retardants are not labelled because it is considered a trade secret under U.S. Freedom of Information laws, which prompted Duke to undertake the study.
Anne Hulick, coordinator of the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut, said that there is a “growing consensus” in the scientific community that exposure to toxins in our homes and products has contributed to increasing rates of childhood cancer and a host of other serious illnesses.
“We all hear the slogan that we’re wining the war against cancer, but we’re not,” Hulick said. “Leukemia and brain cancer have risen in children since the 1970s.”
Urban and Hulick said that products made from cotton and other natural fibers are safe alternatives to those made with polyurethane foam that has been treated with toxic flame retardants. Urban added that cotton and wool are naturally flame resistant.
In October, California’s Carcinogen Identification Committee voted to add Tris to a list of chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects.
Urban said the bill’s scope will be limited to childrens’ products. “We want to begin with baby products because [babies] are the most vulnerable in our society,” Urban said.
With the federal government in gridlock, Urban said that protecting children from harmful chemicals must be done by the states.
“The states are the ones that have to step up and say to the companies ‘you’re not going to poison my child,’” Urban said.
In 2009 Connecticut became the first state to ban the chemical bisphenol A from infant formula and baby food cans and jars. That law went into effect last October.