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NAFRA Comments on Draft Regulatory Determinations Report Under Safer Products for Washington

Proposed Restrictions Are Not Based on the Best Available Science and Could Result in Increased Fire Risks

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Jennifer Garfinkel
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WASHINGTON (November 19, 2021) – The American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) North American Flame Retardant Alliance (NAFRA) issued the following statement in response to the Draft Regulatory Determinations Report to the Legislature from the Washington State Department of Ecology regarding its implementation of Safer Products for Washington.

“NAFRA is deeply disappointed by the Department of Ecology’s Draft Regulatory Determinations Report, part of which proposes restricting the use of organohalogen flame retardants (OFRs) in plastic device casings for electrical and electronic equipment. Safety is a top priority for our industry, and we believe consumers deserve to have confidence in the products they purchase. Ecology’s proposed restrictions would apply to numerous electronic and household items, including but not limited to televisions, laptops, mobile phones, kitchen appliances, washing machines, irons, and hair dryers.

“No state, federal, or international regulatory authority has proposed or implemented a ban on flame retardants in electronics as broad as the one being considered in Washington, making the state an outlier. Such a regulation would potentially decrease the availability of electronic and electrical products for purchase in the state and potentially increase the fire risk posed by the products that are available. Electronic casings present unique fire risks and restricting the use of flame retardants in electric and electronic enclosures could undermine overall product safety and performance.

“The Department of Ecology’s approach for regulating OFRs goes against the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that this diverse group of chemicals cannot be treated as a single class for purposes of assessment.[1] The best available science should be used in developing regulations to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach that is neither scientifically accurate, nor appropriate."

North American Flame Retardant Alliance (NAFRA), American Chemistry Council
We remain committed to working with the Washington State Department of Ecology and all stakeholders to help ensure fire protection and chemical safety.

[1] National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2019. A Class Approach to Hazard Assessment of Organohalogen Flame Retardants. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25412.         

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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