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Sarah Janssen’s Blog

Another public health victory in California.

Sarah Janssen

Posted October 12, 2011

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Today, the state of California has added the flame retardant, chlorinated Tris, or TDCPP to the Prop 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer.  Today’s listing will not ban the chemical from use, but could result in labeling of consumer products that contain the chemical. In 1977, this same chemical was banned from use in children’s pajamas because of concerns about cancer, but it is still legal to use in any other consumer product.

The Carcinogen Identification Committee, a scientific committee appointed by the Governor, voted 5 - 1 to add TDCPP (chlorinated Tris) to the Proposition 65 list.  Prop 65 requires California to publish of a list of chemicals, known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. If you live in the state, you might recognize this label:

“WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

Such a warning label would have come in handy when I purchased my couch 3 years ago.  I recently found out that couch contains chlorinated Tris!  

The listing of chlorinated tris on Prop 65 is a public health victory.

Tris is the most commonly used flame retardant in foam in U.S. furniture and baby products according to recent studies, where Tris was found over one-third of baby products like changing pads, car seats, and infant positioners.

 Flame retardants do not stay put in the foam but migrate out where they attach to dust particles that can be inhaled or ingested. Chlorinated tris has been found humans bodies as a result of their use in consumer products.

The fact that this chemical, which has been identified as a cancer-causing chemical for over 30 years, has been allowed to be used in consumer products is a glaring example of our broken chemical regulatory system which allows chemicals to be introduced into the market before they are shown to be safe. NRDC is working to reform this law.  Learn more and get involved at

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