Public Comment: Draft Report of the New York State Task Force on Flame Retardant Safety
- Public Comment: Draft Report of the New York State Task Force on Flame Retardant Safety is available in Portable Document Format (PDF, 1.83MB, 234pg.)
The New York State Task Force on Flame Retardant Safety, chaired by the New York State Department of Health, is asking the public for comments on its draft report on the flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE or also sometimes called decabrominated diphenyl ether) and its alternatives.
Chapter 387 of the Laws of New York, 2004, charged the Task Force to:
- "…review and report on relevant studies, risk assessments, findings or rulings in connection with the flame retardant decabrominated diphenyl ether, including but not limited to any issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the European Union…" and,
- "…evaluate the availability of safer alternatives to the flame retardant decabrominated diphenyl ether, including an assessment of the reliability, ready availability and cost-effectiveness of such substitutes."
Overall Conclusion of the Draft Report
The widespread historical use of decaBDE has led to the presence of BDE-209 (the primary chemical in decaBDE) in the environment which can result in exposure to fish, wildlife and humans. BDE-209 has the potential to form more toxic compounds, but it is unclear how much of these compounds form in the environment. Studies that show adverse effects in animals exposed to BDE-209 are interpreted differently by scientists on the basis of study quality issues, as well as uncertainties about their relevance to human health risks. There is no scientific consensus about how much health risk results from current levels of human exposure to BDE-209. Regardless of the conclusions that might be drawn about the formation of other compounds and the level of health risk, the voluntary phase out of production, importation, and sales for most decaBDE uses by December 31, 2012, and ending all uses by December 31, 2013, will limit the amount of decaBDE and any breakdown products that can be released to the environment in the future. The availability, reliability and cost effectiveness of decaBDE alternatives in many applications have made the voluntary phase out practical, while meeting the need for commercial products to maintain sufficient flame retardant properties.
To Send Comments on the Draft Report
Comments on the scientific aspects of the draft report and the development of the conclusions would be most helpful. However, comments on any portion of the draft report are welcome. Please identify the section and page number to which the comment refers. People submitting comments are encouraged (but not required) to include their name and contact information with their comments in case clarification regarding a comment would be useful. The task force will revise and finalize the report after reviewing the public comments, which will be included in an appendix of the final report.
New York State Department of Health Center for Environmental Health
Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment
Empire State Plaza-Corning Tower, Room 1743
Albany, New York 12237