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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL)

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RELEASE: House Approves Ban on Flame-Retardant Chemicals to Protect Firefighters

Thursday, May 16, 2019

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Today, the Minnesota House approved a ban on the use of flame-retardant chemicals in certain products (HF 359). The legislation, authored by Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL – Roseville), protects firefighters and children from the health risks associated with these toxic chemicals. The bill passed with overwhelming support and is expected to pass in the Senate.

“There’s no purer form of public service than the work done by our firefighters,” said Rep. Becker-Finn. “Unfortunately, unnecessary chemicals in our homes often cause negative health impacts for firefighters. Banning flame retardants is a great step for protecting firefighters and kids.”

Rep. Becker-Finn’s legislation prohibits manufacturing or selling furniture, fabric, and children’s products that contain flame retardant chemicals above a certain threshold. It also restricts the use of firefighting foam that contains PFAS, toxic agents that have contaminated several drinking water sources in Minnesota. The bill is supported by Minnesota Professional Fire Fighters, Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association, Minnesota State Volunteer Firefighters Association, and Clean Water Action Minnesota.

Flame retardants create unnecessary health risks for firefighters and children. When they burn, flame retardants produce cancer-causing chemicals that have been linked to developmental and reproductive issues. Firefighters and children can inhale the carcinogens or absorb them through their skin. Studies have shown that flame retardants are also ineffective at stopping fires. 

The Governor is expected to sign this legislation into law.