Sacramento, California –The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) put polyurethane products firmly in the firing line with the announcement that it would be naming childrens foam padded sleeping products containing TDCPP a flame retardant, and polyurethane spray foam containing unreacted isocyanates as priority products.
The announcement on 13 March said: " DTSC is not banning these products. It is starting a process, requiring manufacturers who want to sell them in California to conduct an alternatives analysis to determine if feasible safer ingredients are available. The final list of Priority Products won’t be official until a rule-making process is complete, which could take up to a year. After that, manufacturers will begin the Alternative Analysis process."
The state is acting under the California Safer Consumer Products regulations which came into effect on 1 October 2013. California considers TDCPP (tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate) to be a "probable carcinogen," according to a statement.
Industry sources close to the US flexible foam business suggest that the flame retardant may have been taken off the market in early 2014 in the US. One possibility, sources suggested, is that because the volumes of foam required to make children's mattresses is relatively small, some manufacturers may have made them out of small lots of foam that they have to hand.
The volume of flexible foam used in the baby mattress market is small. Robert Luedeka, executive director US of the US Polyurethane Foam Association said " in terms of volume it's not on our radar. Specifications for this type of foam use do not include flame retardants", he added.