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Eye On Olympia

Inflammatory rhetoric…

One of the most vivid pieces of lobbying so far this year has been manufacturers’ pushback against an environmentalist-backed bill that would ban certain toxic flame retardants.

“You wouldn’t let your child PLAY WITH MATCHES,” reads a mailer from a group called Keep American Fire-Safe. “So why are lawmakers playing with FIRE?”

Pictured is a young boy in his pajamas, watching a cartoon. He’s surrounded by red plastic jugs filled with gasoline.

In broad strokes, House Bill 1024 would ban the sale, manufacture or distribution of products containing polybrominated diphenyl ethers by next January. (The bill makes distinctions between different formulations of PBDE and different products, and phases in the ban based on some of those factors. You can learn all about those distinctions here.)

Proponents say PBDEs, in their worst forms, are a poison seeping into the earth and into us. Critics of the bill say that flame retardants are key to safety, and that science doesn’t back up many of the claims about harmful health effects of the chemicals.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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