Fire retardant banned

The House votes to ban an environment-damaging fire retardant.

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Thursday brought a decision by the Oregon House to ban a fire-retardant chemical that is a potential toxin. Representatives passed the bill despite lobbying from domestic and foreign companies.

If signed into law by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, Senate Bill 596 (PDF) would make Oregon the third state after Washington and Maine to ban a type of decabrominated diphenyl ether used for decades in furniture to prevent fires. Critics say the chemical breaks down into a toxin.

As reported in this week’s WW, chemical companies in Louisiana, Connecticut and Israel hired lobbyists in Salem and waged a direct-mail campaign in key districts to hold the bill up in the House. Recent days have also seen reports of robo-calls by the group.

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