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Background on Flame Retardants Banned by Graco

July 16, 2012 -- Today, Graco banned four hazardous flame retardants from all of their products:
  • Two of the chemicals, often referred to as “Tris,” include TDCPP (Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate) and TCEP (Tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate).
  • The third, TCPP (Tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate) is structurally similar to the “Tris” compounds.
  • All three are either carcinogens or suspected carcinogens.
  • The fourth chemical, called Firemaster 550, contains ingredients that have been targeted for review by EPA due to widespread exposure and potential health risk.

All of these flame were the subject of an award-winning peer-reviewed research paper, Identification of flame retardants in polyurethane foam collected from baby products, which was published in Environmental Science and Technology in June 2011. The paper was awarded the top environmental science paper by Environmental Science and Technology in May 2012.

Graco's flame retardant policy:
  • Graco has clarified that they committed to ban and monitor the use of TCEP in September 2010, and TCPP and TDCPP in August 2011.
  • Graco does not use Firemaster 550 in any products that are currently on the market. The company banned the use FireMaster 550 as a treatment several years ago and believes it has never used FireMaster 550.
  • Graco does not use any chemical on California’s Proposition 65 list; and the company monitors 6 additional compounds which are on the European Union Candidates List for Substances of Very High Concern. Graco is currently targeting one of the FireMaster 550 chemicals, TPP, as a restricted material.
  • These restrictions apply to all Graco products.

About the hazardous flame retardants banned:

TDCPP: TDCPP has been the main fire retardant used in automotive foam cushioning for many years and is also frequently used in upholstered furniture foam. Although banned in the U.S. from children’s pajamas in 1977, TDCPP continues to be in widespread use in baby nursery items, strollers, nursing pillows, and other children’s products at concentrations of up to 5 percent (by weight), as well as other foam-padded furniture, such as couches, chairs, and sofa beds. Between 10 and 50 million pounds of TDCPP were imported or produced in the United States in 2006 and demand is anticipated to increase.

In a recent study TDCPP has been detected in more than 96 percent of house dust samples collected in the Boston. Dust is known to be a major source of exposure to many flame retardants and young children have been found to be among the most highly exposed. Traces of TDCPP have been detected in sewage effluent, river water, seawater, drinking water, sediment, and in fish throughout the world. In laboratory animal studies, TDCPP has been associated with cancer of the liver, kidney, brain and testis. It has also been found to cause other harmful effects in the liver, kidney, bone marrow, and testis.

TCEP: More than 500,000 pounds of TCEP are imported or produced in the United States per year for use in furniture foam, vinyl (PVC), electronics (e.g., televisions and computers), adhesives, non-apparel textiles, upholstery, the back-coating of carpets, rubber, plastics, paints, and varnishes. TCEP was one of the most commonly detected organic environmental contaminants in a 2002 study of water samples from 139 streams across the United States. TCEP has also been detected in indoor air samples and dust. Dust is known to be a major source of exposure to many flame retardants and young children have been found to be among the most highly exposed. TCEP has been shown in laboratory animal studies to cause tumors in the kidney and thyroid glands. In other laboratory animal studies, TCEP has been shown to cause reductions in fertility and poor sperm quality and interferes with brain signaling, causing hyperactivity.

TCPP: Tris(1-chloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TCPP) is an additive flame retardant used extensively in rigid and flexible polyurethane foam. TCPP is also used in thermoset plastics and thermoplastic materials and in textile finishes. The U.S. produces/imports 10-50 million pounds of TCPP annually. TCPP is structurally similar to three chemical compounds that have been identified as causing cancer: Tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate and tris(2,3-dibromopropyl)phosphate are listed as known to cause cancer under Proposition 65, and tris(1,3-dichloropropyl)phosphate was identified as a probable human carcinogen, based on sufficient evidence in animals, by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (2006).

FireMaster 550: Was introduced as a replacement for pentaBDE in 2003. Since then, the chemical’s brominate components have been found in Great Lakes’ air, water and wildlife. There are concerns about development impacts at high doses. There are also concerns about one of its ingredients - TBPH, which is very structurally similar to the phthalate DEHP. DEHP has been linked to various health impacts by EPA. Firemaster 550 (FM 550) contains 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB), bis(2-ethylhexyl)-2,3,4,5-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH), triphenyl phosphate (TPP) and several isopropylated triaryl phosphate isomers.

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