Anchorage says goodbye to harmful flame retardant chemicals through Assembly prohibition

Many flame retardant chemicals have been used in furniture to delay ignition time, but studies have shown they can actually cause adverse health effects when ignited.

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Anchorage Assembly unanimously supported an ordinance banning the sale and manufacture within the municipality of some flame retardant chemicals shown to be harmful to health.

Channel 2 began covering the Assembly’s work to ban the chemicals in February, but grassroots organizations like the Alaska Community Action on Toxics have waited for years to be rid of the harmful chemicals for good.

“Anchorage has the opportunity to lead and build on the foundation of laws passed in other local jurisdictions,” ACAT Executive Director Pamela Miller said at the regular assembly meeting on Tuesday. “Toxic flame retardants in toys, electronics and car seats not only present hazards to children, but they also create more hazardous conditions for our firefighters."

The passed amendment requires the California TB 117-2013 associated labeling requirement, and makes other changes recommended by various industry groups.

The final operating cost of the ban will be $20,000 per fiscal year through FY23, but “costs to retail and other businesses should be negligible,” according to a summary of the economic effects, prepared by Assembly Chair Eric Croft.

According to Assembly Member Christopher Constant, the prohibition will not take effect until 2020, and may not even require the estimated $20,000 of yearly operational expenses.

The fully amended resolution, which includes fees for violations and exceptions to the prohibition, can be read online here.

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