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Public Statements

The Introduction of the Decrease Unsafe Toxins Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Ms. DeLAURO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the Decrease Unsafe Toxins (D.U.S.T.) Act, which would ban children's cushioned products that contain an unacceptable level of toxic flame retardant chemicals. In doing so, this bill would reduce infant and children exposure to these harmful chemicals.

This bill would set a maximum level of 1,000 parts per million for the toxic chemicals in the filling materials used in products, such as high chairs, strollers, bouncers, infant walkers, changing pads, and baby carriers.

Studies clearly show that exposure to these toxic chemicals may be associated with cancer, birth defects, immune disruption, reproductive disorders, hormonal imbalances, and neurologic and mental development disorders. Toddlers who crawl in the dust and put their hands in their mouths have three to four times the levels of toxic flame retardants in their bodies compared to their parents. This is at an age when their neurological and reproductive organs are still developing and they are the most vulnerable to the toxic effects of the chemicals.

In addition to the potential health hazards, flame retardants have not been found to significantly improve fire safety or prevent ignitions from small flame sources. According to data from fire protection groups, such as the National Fire Protection Association, no fire safety benefit exists from including flame retardant chemicals in these products.

Our current regulatory system does not protect our children from such toxic chemicals. We must act now to help reduce our exposure and protect our most vulnerable, our children.

The legislation has been endorsed by the Green Science Policy Institute, Women's Voices for the Earth, Clean Production Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, First Focus, Environmental Working Group, Zero to Three, IKEA North America Services, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), Children's Defense Fund, and Alaska Community Action on Toxins.

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