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A Massachusetts bill banning the use of 11 flame retardants in several types of household and children’s products has died, after Governor Charlie Baker declined to sign the industry-opposed measure into law.
The measure (H 5024) has been laid before the Governor in the closing hours of the 2017–2018 legislative session. Since the session ended and a new one has already begun, the bill could not be amended and the so called ‘pocket veto’ cannot be overridden.
According to Governor Baker’s letter to lawmakers, he supports the elimination of flame retardant chemicals but reckoned the bill would make Massachusetts the only state in the United States to ban certain flame retardants in car seats and non-foam adult mattresses, products already subject to federal flammability requirements.
Baker noted that the ban would go into effect in less than five months, cutting the lead time for manufacturers to re-design or re-formulate their products. In addition, he also cited that the bill urged the state’s environmental protection department to ban additional substances in the future “based solely on certain risks, without any consideration of countervailing benefits”.