Maine's environmental protection department (DEP) has proposed a rule to designate decaBDE and HBCD as priority chemicals under the Toxic Chemicals in Children's Products law on 12 October 2016.

It would apply to manufacturers of a range of products that intentionally contain the flame retardants when used in a non-polymeric, additive form.

The rule proposes covering:

  • childcare articles, sleepwear, toys, clothing and footwear;
  • electronic devices; and
  • household furniture and furnishings, including mattresses and mattress pads.

DecaBDE and HBCD are both listed as Chemicals of High Concern to Children (CHCC) in Washington state. It passed a law earlier this year that banning the sale of residential furniture or children's products containing either substance above deminimis levels. This comes into effect in July 2017.

Earlier this week, the US EPA named decaBDE a persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) substance that will be subject to expedited risk management under TSCA.

And consumer advocates have called for HBCD to be among the first ten substances the agency selects for TSCA risk evaluation.

Under Maine's proposed rule, manufacturers of the affected products would need to report to the state within 180 days of the rule's effective date. Reports would have to include:

  • a description of the product, including whether it is mouthable;
  • the amount and function of the regulated flame retardants;
  • product sales data; and
  • any other information the manufacturer deems relevant to the reporting of the
  • regulated flame retardant. This could include scientific studies or evaluation of alternatives.

A one-time reporting fee would also apply.

Maine selects priority chemicals from a list it keeps of 49 chemicals of high concern. The state also lists approximately 1,400 substances as chemicals of concern.

Last year, the DEP designated formaldehyde and four phthalates as priority chemicals, bringing the list to nine substances. BPA, NP/NPE, cadmium, mercury and arsenic were already included.

The public comment period for the two flame retardants will end on 14 November. The DEP will convene a hearing on 1 November.

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