Support SB 147 – The Consumer Choice Fire Safety Act

A unique coalition of health advocates,  scientists, businesses and manufacturers, environmentalists, fire fighters and fire safety experts have come together in support of Senator Leno’s  SB 147 (see supporter list). This bill would update a 1970s flammability standard (TB 117) to maintain fire safety without the use of toxic chemicals. California is the only jurisdiction in the world that requires bare furniture foam to withstand a 12-second open flame before being sold, which is a de facto requirement for adding flame retardant chemicals. TB 117 was created in the 1970s and now desperately needs to be updated to give us fire safety and leave out chemicals, which are ineffective for fire safety, and toxic for our health and environment.

Take action — Read our letter and sign on today!

Current Status of SB 147

May 2 on reconsideration from April 25 committee hearing in Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development. Votes: Price – NO, Emmerson – NO, Hernandez – NO, Correa – NO, Negrete McLeod – NO, Vargas – NO, Walters – NO, Wyland – NO, Corbett – AYE. Votes at the May 2 reconsideration remained unchanged.

Watch the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee hearing on April 25 about SB 147: part 1 (beginning at 01:18:45) and part 2.

Contact Ana Mascarenas at, 323-743-3241 to get involved in supporting SB 147.

In The News

Eight California Senators Obstruct Opportunity To Reduce Toxic Chemical Exposure

Last night, eight California State Senators, charged with supporting business, jobs and economic development for California voted against a measure that would provide green business opportunities and improve fire safety for the state as well as curb global exposure to illness-causing chemicals.

Read the full PSR-LA press release here at

Viewpoints: Flame Retardants are the Asbestos of Our Time

by Dr. Arlene Blum

A half century ago, asbestos seemed a wondrous material. Added to building insulation, brake pads and other products, the fibrous substance stopped the spread of fire and saved lives. But it has ended up killing countless others: Asbestos fibers lodge in the linings of the lungs, where they cause a fatal form of cancer called mesothelioma. There are more than 10,000 deaths per year due to the legacy of asbestos exposure.

Although asbestos is now rarely used in the United States, we face a similar health threat from other toxic flame retardants used in our furniture and baby products. These chemicals, with no proven fire safety benefit, could well be the asbestos of our time.

Read the full Sacramento Bee article here on

Foam Alone: Do Furniture Flame Retardants Save Enough Lives to Justify Their Environmental Damage?

Legislation on California state Sen. Mark Leno’s desk has the potential to affect every household in the U.S.

If Leno has his way, the state’s textile and furniture manufacturers, and thus probably all such makers in the U.S., will drastically alter the amount of flame retardant carried in almost every sofa, love seat and easy chair in the country.

Read the full Scientific American article here on

California’s Flammability Standard Puts Children at Risk

study published this week in the journal,Environmental Health Perspectives is further evidence that California children are the most highly exposed to flame retardant chemicals. Based on the results of this and previous studies, it is likely these high levels of exposure to flame retardant chemicals are due to the unique furniture flammability standards in the state.

The study done by UC Berkeley researchers measured a group of flame retardants, called PBDEs, in 264  Mexican-American children born and raised in California  and compared their levels to 283 children born and raised in the same areas of Mexico from where their mothers had emigrated.

Read the full article here on the Huffington Post.


Information and Perspectives on SB 147

California’s Toxic Sofas — Give Us a Choice for Health

by Harpreet Malhi, DO

I see thousands of patients every year with chronic and acute illnesses — some are easily treatable, others present more of a challenge, and for some there is regrettably nothing that I can do. Many illnesses are triggered as a result of multiple factors. For these patients, I cannot help but think of the many ways in which their illnesses may have been prevented. What if they had better access to health information and healthcare services? What if we more highly valued prevention?

Right now members of the California legislature have the opportunity to take a step towards better health for Californians, and make a decision that values science-based prevention. This opportunity has nothing to do with the cost of health insurance, doctor visits, or taxes; this has to do with making our living and working environments safer by giving every Californian the chance to have furniture and baby products free of toxic and untested flame retardant chemicals. This opportunity is presented in SB 147 (Leno), The Consumer Choice Fire Safety Act.

Read more

Support SB 147 (Leno): Fact Sheet

Download this information (pdf)

In Brief: California’s Furniture Flammability Standard Technical Bulletin 117 (TB 117), has led to high levels of toxic or untested chemical flame retardants in furniture and baby products since 1975. SB 147 would instruct the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation (BEARHFTI) to develop an alternative flammability standard that is fire safe and can be met without the use of flame retardants.

FIRE SAFETY TB 117 has no proven fire safety benefit. There is no impartial data to show that adding flame retardants to California furniture and baby products has decreased fires or fire deaths. Fires are in fact more dangerous in the presence of these chemicals.  The flame retardants burn after a few seconds and increase the carbon monoxide, smoke, and soot, which are the major cause of fire deaths.

HEALTH Scientific and peer-reviewed data show that exposure to flame retardants is associated with decreased  IQ, cancer, cryptorchidism (undescended testicles), endocrine and thyroid disruption, reduced fertility, and other adverse human health conditions.

CHOICE SB 147 would allow consumers the choice of purchasing furniture and baby products that are fire safe and do not contain toxic chemicals. Current regulations do not allow consumers this basic choice.

Read more

PSR-LA Co-Sponsors SB 147 (Leno) the Consumer Choice Fire Safety Act

By Miranda Fox

Left to Right: Senator Mark Leno, Dr. Arlene Blum, Martha Dina Argüello. February 1 press conference in Sacramento to introduce SB 147.

On February 1, Executive Director Martha Dina Argüello joined State Senator Mark Leno, fire scientists, environmental advocates, and public health leaders, at a press conference in Sacramento, where new legislation was announced that will create an alternative fire safety standard in California. If passed, the Consumer Choice Fire Safety Act, will give consumers in the state the choice of purchasing furniture that has not been treated with brominated flame retardants but still complies with current fire safety standards.

Watch the press conference video.

Under current California law, mandated by Technical Bulletin 117 (TB 117), all foam in upholstered furniture and baby products must withstand exposure to a small open flame for 12 seconds. As a result, manufacturers treat the foam with toxic flame retardant chemicals. These chemicals “are associated with cancer, reduced fertility and IQ, endocrine, thyroid and neurological impairments and have made their way into our dust, our bodies, and our children’s bodies, and at increasing levels, our food,” said Dr. Arlene Blum, who holds a PhD in biophysical chemistry and is the founder of Green Science Policy Institute.

Read more


Take Action to Support SB 147

San Antonio Statement on Brominated and Chlorinated Flame Retardants

A landmark scientific consensus, the San Antonio Statement, published in the Dec. 2010 Environmental Health Perspectives, highlights health and environmental hazards of many flame retardants, and discusses concern about the persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic properties of these chemicals. See the full statement.

More than 200 scientists from over 30 countries have signed onto this statement. Read the editorial by Linda S. Birnbaum, Director, NIEHS and NTP, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and Åke Bergman,Professor in Environmental Chemistry, Board Member of the International Panel on Chemical Pollution, Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.

Supporter List (Partial)

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists District IX
  • American Home Furnishings Alliance
  • Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility, Northern CA
  • As You Sow Foundation
  • Bananas Child Care Information and Referral and Parent Support
  • Breast Cancer Action
  • Breast Cancer Fund
  • Black Women for Wellness
  • Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy
  • California Professional Firefighters
  • Canon for the Environment, Episcopal Diocese of California
  • Center for Environmental Health
  • Clean Water Action
  • Commonweal
  • Consumer Federation of California
  • Eastyard Communities for Environmental Justice
  • Ecology Center
  • Environment CA
  • Environmental Working Group
  • Fire Science and Technology Inc.
  • Health Officers Association of California
  • Healthy Building Network
  • Healthy Child
  • Herman Miller Furniture
  • International Association of Fire Fighters
  • Just Transition Alliance
  • Los Angeles Metro Churches
  • MOMS (Moms Making Our Milk Safe)
  • Moms Rising
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility, San Francisco
  • Polyurethane Foam Association
  • San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
  • San Francisco Firefighter Cancer Prevention Foundation
  • Sierra Club, CA
  • Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
  • Stentorians of Los Angeles County
  • Trauma Foundation
  • Trendway Furniture