Massachusetts Latest to Ban Certain Flame Retardants in Selected Consumer Products

Antimony trioxide newest chemical to be added to growing list of flame retardant bans

January 20, 2021

Yet another state has decided to ban certain flame retardants in selected consumer products. Massachusetts has decided to ban more than 10 brominated, chlorinated, or organophosphate-based compounds that provide flame retardancy to children’s products, bedding, carpeting, residential upholstered furniture, and window treatments. While other states have implemented similar bans or warning requirements targeting the same types of consumer products over the past decade (for example, TCEP, TDCPP, penta-BDE, TBBPA, and antimony trioxide are Proposition 65 listed chemicals), Massachusetts has expanded the number of listed flame retardants. Specifically, Massachusetts is the first state to explicitly ban antimony trioxide, chlorinated paraffins, and the organophosphate TCPP, as well as the brominated phthalate flame retardant TBPH and its analog, TBB, which have been used as replacement flame retardants for the previously banned penta-BDE, octa-BDE, and deca-BDE.

In New England, Maine and New Hampshire generically banned flamed retardant chemicals in selected consumer products and defined as those chemicals that “resist or inhibit the spread of fire,” but it is unclear whether these bans include synergists, such as antimony trioxide. Synergists are used in conjunction with flame retardants to increase their effectiveness; they do not have flame retardancy properties on their own. The California ban that became effective in January 2020 was the first to include the term “synergist” in the flame retardant definition, but the Massachusetts ban is the first instance where antimony trioxide has been specifically identified by chemical name. This focus on antimony trioxide follows a 2018 decision by the U.S. National Toxicology Program to classify antimony trioxide as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" and to add it to their carcinogen list.

The Massachusetts ban continues the trend of specifically targeting flame retardant use in children’s products, bedding, and upholstered furniture, similar to other states. Only some flame retardants (e.g., penta-BDE, octa-BDE, TDCPP, and TCEP) have been completely banned from any product by selected states. Therefore, this ban not only continues the trajectory of increased regulations for the use of flame retardants but also increases the scrutiny on the use of antimony trioxide in selected consumer products.

Table 1 below lists the flame retardants banned in one or more states for use in some or all consumer products. Details of the Massachusetts ban and bans in other states can be found in Table 2 below.

How Exponent Can Help

Exponent’s regulatory managers, health scientists, and materials and environmental engineers can help clients determine whether their consumer products may contain these chemicals, the necessary features they may provide, potential alternatives for achieving desired performance, methods for monitoring future production, and approaches for evaluating health and environmental concerns.

Table 1 – Flame retardants listed in state bans

Group

Flame Retardant

Specifically listed in state ban

Generically covered by state ban

Brominated Flame Retardants

Penta-BDE

HI, IL, MA, MD, MI, MN, NY, OR, VT

CA, ME, NH, RI

Octa-BDE

HI, IL, MA, MD, MN, NY, OR, VT

CA, ME, NH, RI

Deca-BDE

MN, OR, VT, WA

CA, ME, NH, RI

HBCD

MA, MN, WA

CA, ME, NH, RI

TBBPA

MA, WA

CA, ME, NH, RI

TPBH

MA

CA, ME, NH, RI

TBB

MA

CA, ME, NH, RI

Chlorinated Flame Retardants

Chlorinated paraffins

MA

CA, ME, NH, RI

TCEP

MA, MD, MN, NY, VT, WA, Washington DC

CA, ME, NH, RI

TCPP

MA

CA, ME, NH, RI

TDCPP

MA, MD, MN, NY, VT, WA, Washington DC

CA, ME, NH, RI

Synergists

Antimony trioxide

MA

CA


Table 2 – Details of state bans

State

Type of Product1

Type of Flame Retardants2

Concentration

Effective Date

Reference

California

Children’s products, mattresses, and upholstered furniture

All FRs

1,000 ppm

January 1, 2020

Assembly Bill 2998

Hawaii

Any product

  • penta-BDE
  • octa-BDE

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

January 1, 2008

HB 2013

Illinois

Any product

  • penta-BDE
  • octa-BDE

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

January 1, 2006

HB 2572

Maine

Any product

  • penta-BDE
  • octa-BDE

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

January 1, 2006

H.P. 1312 – L.D. 1790

Residential upholstered furniture

All FRs

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

January 1, 2019

H.P 138 – L.D. 182

Maryland

Any new product

  • penta-BDE
  • octa-BDE

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

October 1, 2008

HB 83

Products for children less than 3 years old

  • TCEP
  • TDCPP

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

October 1, 2013 (TCEP)

October 1, 2014 (TDCPP)

HB 99 and HB 299

Massachusetts

Children’s products, bedding, carpeting, residential upholstered furniture, and window treatments

  • TCEP
  • TCPP
  • TDCPP
  • HBCD
  • TBPH
  • TBB
  • penta-BDE
  • octa-BDE
  • TBBPA
  • chlorinated paraffins
  • antimony trioxide

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

December 31, 2021

H4900

Michigan

Any product

  • penta-BDE

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

June 1, 2006

HB 4406

Minnesota

Any product

  • penta-BDE
  • octa-BDE

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

January 1, 2008

SF 2096

Children’s products and residential upholstered furniture

  • deca-BDE
  • TDCPP
  • TCEP
  • HBCD

1,000 ppm

July 1, 2019

SF 1215

New Hampshire

Mattresses and upholstered furniture

All FRs

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

January 1, 2021

SB193

New York

Any product

  • penta-BDE
  • octa-BDE

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

January 1, 2006

S07621

Products for children 3 or under

  • TDCPP
  • TCEP

Not specified

December 1, 2013

S03703

A06195

Oregon

Any product

  • penta-BDE
  • octa-BDE
  • deca-BDE

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

January 1, 2011

SB 962

SB 596

Rhode Island

Residential upholstered bedding and furniture

Organohalogen FRs

100 ppm

July 1, 2019

H5082

Vermont

Any product

  • penta-BDE
  • octa-BDE

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

July 1, 2010

S81

Mattresses, upholstered furniture, plastic housing for TVs and computers, plastic shipping pallets

  • deca-BDE

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

July 1, 20103

S81

Children’s product

  • TDCPP
  • TCEP

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

July 1, 2014

S81

Washington

Children’s products and residential upholstered furniture

  • TDCPP
  • TCEP
  • deca-BDE
  • HBCD
  • Additive TBBPA

1,000 ppm

July 1, 2017

House Bill 2545

Washington
D.C.

Children’s product and residential upholstered furniture

  • TDCPP
  • TCEP

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

January 1, 2018

B21-0143

Any product

  • TDCPP
  • TCEP

0.1%

(1,000 ppm)

January 1, 2019

B21-0143



1 Please note that there are often specific exemptions or product descriptors. Please see the original legal text for more information.

2 TCEP = tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate CAS # 115-96-8
TCPP = tris(1-chloro-2-propyl)phosphate CAS # 13674-84-5
TDCPP = tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate CAs # 13674-87-8
Penta-BDE = pentabromodiphenyl ether CAS # 32534-81-9
Octa-BDE = octabromodiphenyl ether CAS # 32536-52-0
Deca-BDE = decabromodiphenyl ether CAS # 1163-19-5
HBCD = hexabromocyclododecane CAS # 3194-55-6
TBBPA = tetrabromobisphenol A CAS # 79-94-7
TBPH = bis(2-ethylhexyl)-3,4,5,6- tetrabromophthalate CAS # 26040-51-7
TBB = 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate CAS # 183658-27-7

3July 1, 2012, for plastic housings for TVs and computers and July 1, 2013, for plastic shipping pallets.

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