Policy Update

Landmark Legislation Spotlight: Maine’s Flame Retardant Ban



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Spotlighting Maine’s Ban on All Flame Retardant Chemicals in Newly Upholstered Furniture

Last year, Maine passed a first of its kind bill that banned the use of all flame retardant chemicals in newly upholstered furniture. Representative Walter Kumiega introduced this bill, LD 182, in a bipartisan effort that nearly unanimously overrode Governor LePage’s veto. Once thought to be helpful in preventing fires, flame retardants have proven both ineffective and harmful to human health, especially for firefighters who are most frequently exposed to these chemicals. This bill will go into effect in 2019, setting a new precedent by banning the use all chemicals considered to be flame retardants on household furniture.

LD 182 is the most recent addition to the Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook, a resource created by NCEL and the USC Schwarzenegger Institute as a one-stop-shop for landmark state environmental legislation ripe for replication in other states. This year, seven states have already introduced bills to ban flame retardant chemicals in certain consumer items and you can access a comprehensive bill tracker at the Safer States website. As more states look to ban these harmful carcinogenic chemicals, Maine’s legislation can be a strong model to follow. Through the Handbook, you can access detailed bill information such as a fiscal note, letters of support, and vote counts.