Yesterday, the Rhode Island House of Representatives voted to pass H5082, which will phase out the use of organohalogens, a dangerous chemical used in flame retardants that is associated with cancer and respiratory ailments.
The Senate already unanimously passed this bill in the spring, but when the General Assembly adjourned suddenly in June, the House version was left in legislative limbo. Over the summer, we worked to make sure that a strong version of this bill would be on the agenda when the General Assembly reconvened in the fall to address its unfinished business.
Thankfully, it was. The passage of H5082 means that the bill will now head to Governor Raimondo's desk to be signed.
By 2019, items like couches, highchairs, electronic toys, car seats, and many more common household products will no longer be allowed to be treated with flame retardants containing organohalogens. This will keep us and our families safe from exposure, and address a huge exposure risk that firefighters take whenever they enter burning homes. H5082 will protect us, our children, and our first responders from harm from these chemicals.
Bill sponsors Senator Adam Satchell and Representative Michael Morin should be commended for their leadership on this issue, along with House and Senate leadership. Despite efforts by the chemical industry to weaken this bill, the General Assembly understood the importance of passing a strong bill to protect public health.
And most importantly, thank YOU, our Rhode Island members, for supporting this legislation by writing letters and contacting your senators and representatives to demand that they put the health and safety of our kids and first responders over the business interests of the chemical industry.