BANGOR, ME -- The state of Maine
has enacted legislation that permits continued use of the highly-effective
flame retardant known as Deca in the utility, automobile and semiconductor
industries, each of which is vital to the state’s economy.
“While we are disappointed that the
legislature is limiting the use of Deca in some home furnishing materials and
consumer electronics, both of which present fire risks, it is important to note
that numerous key uses will be exempted by the state of Maine,” said Dr. Michael
Spiegelstein, chairman of the Bromine Science and
Environmental Forum, an advocacy group for the bromine chemical
the bill, the use of Deca in mattresses, mattress pads and textiles used in
residential furniture would be prohibited beginning in 2008, and in the casings
of televisions and computers beginning in 2010. Deca is not used in residential
mattresses or furniture, and has never been used widely in computers, further
limiting the practical impact of the prohibition.
to BSEF, a 10-year European Union risk assessment found Deca safe for use and
exempted it from further regulation. Spiegelstein said no other flame retardant
has been as extensively studied and that properly evaluating and approving
alternative flame retardants is a challenging process.
of safe and effective flame retardants saves many lives every year by
preventing or slowing down fires,” Spiegelstein said. “The real challenge for Maine
is to conduct the type of thorough analysis necessary to find a safer
substitute for Deca, which is not as simple as some people think – any
substance used as an alternative to Deca carries its own risks. "