Brown Proposes State Lift Flame Retardant Requirement

Listen to the audio:

A decades-old fight over the use of flame retardants in upholstered furniture reached a critical milestone Friday.

Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a proposal to allow manufacturers to stop treating foam and other cushioning with chemicals -- something they've done since the 1970s to meet the state's flammability standards.

Former Sacramento Fire Captain Jim Doucette says he's lost many colleagues to cancer and believes flame retardants are to blame.

"And I can remember early on in my career talking with older firefighters that fought fire in the '50s and '60," Doucette says. "They used to always tell me that something changed. They didn't know what it was, but fires were burning hotter and dirtier. Unfortunately, for me, that was all I ever really knew."

The revised fire safety regulations still await a public comment period and the approval of California's Administrative Law office.

But its supporters are already celebrating.
KQED's Stephanie Martin spoke with Green Science Policy Institute chemist Arlene Blum about California's revised regulations.

Become a KQED sponsor

Follow KQED News on Facebook

Follow KQED News on Twitter

For the latest updates from KQED News, follow us on Twitter.