Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Senate Bill 147 Follow-Up Report

A "green" non-toxic couch ~ NOT purchased in California!

An update from Arlene Blum about our last post about SB147:

This Monday at a hearing of the Senate Business and Professions Committee , eight California Senators – Curren Price, Bill Emerson, Lou Correa, Ed Hernandez, Gloria Negrete McLeod, Juan Vargas, Mimi Walters, and Mark Wyland – vote- “No” to Mark Leno’s SB 147 to give consumers the choice to purchase fire safe furniture without toxic flame retardants.

On the Leno side were 30 eloquent voices of fire fighters, scientists, physicians, and health officers representing many thousands of Californians. Opposed to the bill were three speakers who work for the bromine industry front group Citizens for Fire Safety. The main industry argument was there was that new flame retardants (similar in structure and properties to the old ones and lacking any health information) were safe. Why did the bromine industry receive eight of nine committee votes? Could contributions the bromine industry had made to the five Democratic committee members who voted "No" had an influence on their votes?

The Leno bill will be heard for a final vote on reconsideration next Monday, May 2nd. Can we persuade four of the eight Senators who voted "No" to change their minds and support SB147?

Our immediate next step should include calling the Senator's offices to voice our outrage about this vote, and ask their support for next Monday’s final vote. Please call and ask for the staff member whose name follows the office phone number Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee Members


Curren Price (Chair) Los Angeles, Hollywood, West LA 916 651-4026 Lisa Martin

Bill Emmerson (Vice-Chair) Riverside County, 916 651-4037, Kayla Williams

Lou Correa Anaheim and Santa Ana area 916 651-4034 John Scribner

Juan Vargas San Diego, Riverside, Imperial County 916 651-4040 Ermelinda Ruiz

Mimi Walters Fullerton, Laguna Hills, Orange, Mission Viejo 916 651-4033

Edward Hernandez Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley 916 651-4024 Annabel Snider

Gloria Negrete McLeod San Bernardino area 916 651-4032 Andrew Langley

Mark Wyland North San Diego County 916 651-4038


Ellen Corbett Alameda and Santa Clara 916 651-4010

Here are some possible talking points:

Scientific research associates flame retardant chemical exposure in humans with decreased IQ and fertility and with thyroid hormone changes. How can the Senator's justify denying me the CHOICE for furniture and baby products free of these chemicals?

Firefighters, doctors, scientists, health officers, all support SB147. The bromine industry and those who work for them are the opposition. Why is the Senator is voting with the industry and against the well being of our state?

As a member of the Business, Professions and Economic Development committee, I'm appalled that you are denying manufacturers the ability to meet consumer demand for furniture that is fire safe, without toxic or untested flame retardants. By not supporting SB 147, you are stifling CA's green economy, job opportunities since businesses say this bill is good for keeping jobs here

Mark Leno’s SB 147, the Consumer Choice Fire Protection Act, does not ban any chemicals. It gives consumers the choice to buy furniture and baby products that are both fire safe and non-toxic.

SB 147 will restore consumer confidence in products made in and made for California.

Manufacturers will not be forced to put toxic chemicals in their products.

A California flammability label will not be a euphemism for “Warning! Toxic Product!”

There is a sample letter below... Thanks for calling, writing, or best of all visiting Senate offices to ask for the Senator's support for SB 147..


Here is a sample letter you can edit and send, fax, or email:

Dear Senator:I am outraged at your vote on SB 147 -- your decision denies me the RIGHT to protect my family from chemicals that increase our risk of being injured or killed in a fire, cause cancer, lower IQ scores, and cause developmental and reproductive disorders. More than thirty organizations testified in support of SB 147, including firefighters, doctors, furniture manufacturers, health research scientists, fire scientists, community health groups
& environmental groups.

Their in-person expert testimony in our state capitol represented the interests of Californians. Only one infamous Sacramento lobbyist, a chemist from Florida, and one burn doctor from Washington state­-the same people industry has employed for years­-showed up to oppose this measure. They were paid for their travel and time from the chemical industry front group, Citizens for Fire Safety. It is no surprise that the industry making these chemicals would claim their product is “effective” and “safe.” It is surprising, however, that you would take their word over the testimony of University of California scientists, the California Firefighters, the College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, furniture and foam manufacturers, and the many other experts and community members who testified in support of SB 147.

As a member of the committee mandated to support jobs and economic development for California, your decision on this bill appalls me. You voted to deny businesses the ability to meet consumer demand for furniture that would a) increase fire safety and b) leave out toxic or untested flame retardant chemicals.

Businesses say that SB 147 will help keep jobs here in California, and grow our economy with greener, safer products. Why are you blocking new technologies and ways of ensuring fire safety that will better protect my family? Why do you support any improvement to our currently ineffective and therefore dangerous standard? Despite your constituents demonstrating clear support for SB 147, and despite the supporting evidence from top experts, you threw your support to the bromine chemical industry that hires no Californians except lobbying firms, and that puts profits above all else. Why do you take the word of the chemical industry rather than scientists, doctors, and firefighters?

I do not want these chemicals in my home. I am outraged that you are forcing proven endocrine disrupting, carcinogenic, reproductive toxins into my home. Fire scientists say these chemicals do not keep me safe from fires. Their harmful health effects have been proven by hundreds of health researchers and doctors.

I urge you to reconsider your vote. Support SB 147. Allow me the RIGHT to increase the odds of my family surviving a home fire. Allow me the RIGHT protect my family from these harmful chemicals.

(sign your name here)

Arlene Blum PhD Visiting Scholar, Chemistry University of California, Berkeley Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute
Telephone: 510 644-3164
Mobile: 510 919-6363
Web: www,

The Green Science Policy Institute provides unbiased scientific information to government, industry, and non-governmental organizations to facilitate more informed decision-making about chemicals used in consumer products in order to protect health and environment world-wide.

© Copyright 2011 North Fork News

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