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Washington Bans Chemicals; Industry Freaks

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the quit-polybrominating-our-kids dept.

Businesses 373

Frosty Piss writes "The governor of Washington is scheduled to sign legislation today to ban flame retardants called PBDEs in furniture, televisions, and computers in the state. This is despite the more than $220,000 the chemical industry has spent since 2005 to defeat the legislation. At a time when the federal government is largely ineffectual in regulating long-used but potentially dangerous industrial chemicals, the Washington ban could be the beginning of the end for PBDEs across the nation. 'The industry that makes deca and PBDEs is freaking out because they lost so severely in Washington state and other states will follow,' said a spokeswoman for the Washington Toxics Coalition. 'It really is a message from Washington state and policymakers that we won't accept chemicals that build up in our bodies and our children.'"

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But if the children (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18770721)

burn to death, we're fine with that...

Re:But if the children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18770759)

apparently.

Re:But if the children (4, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770809)

Yeah, as long as it's not too many. Otherwise we'd have to ban anything that's not metal/glass/ceramic.... oh, wait, those could cut someone, so we better ban them too. The question is not whether it's dangerous, it's how to balance the inherent tradeoffs between the various dangers.

It only takes a spark (5, Insightful)

ghostlibrary (450718) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770877)

I like that the /. ad on this page was "It only takes a spark" (smokey the bear).

But yeah, if one child catches fire but it saves ten thousand from cancer, that's unfortunately a better decision over all. Note it's not like children are spontaneously combusting without PBDEs, it's just that the companies will happily use the cheapest fire-proofing despite the consequences.

More to the point, a parent can stop a child from playing with a fire a lot easier than they can stop a corporation from leaking toxins into the water supply. This is, oddly enough, how legislation is supposed to work.

Re:It only takes a spark (5, Insightful)

beckerist (985855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770971)

What's most enigmatic is the line: This is despite the more than $220,000 the chemical industry has spent since 2005 to defeat the legislation.

My interpretation: Congressmen need more than 6 figures to be bought off.

Re:It only takes a spark (2, Interesting)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771285)

Well, that's 6 figures divvied up between all the congressmen they went after.

6 figures to *each* congressman might work.

Re:It only takes a spark (1)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771345)

My interpretation: Congressmen need more than 6 figures to be bought off.

Wrong government body/Wrong Washington. This was a State action (not Washington DC), so State Legislators were the one's who needed to be bought off. If you insist on looking that cynically at it, remember its a body of people, 10-20 perhaps, so even if you focus on only 51% of them, its not THAT much.

In real life, most of the money went to adds and lobbyists, etc., maybe a few got campaign contributions but likely they already were against the ban.

Re:It only takes a spark (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771563)

Yeah, I liked that too. And "the chemical industry" must not have taken this too seriously. I bet Dow spends that in a day taking people out to lunch.


I also liked the fact that the Washington Toxics Coalition spokesperson used the phrase "freaking out" in communicating an official statement. I bet they are, like, totally against all the, like, bad-for-you :( stuff and stuff.

Re:It only takes a spark (4, Interesting)

polar red (215081) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771001)

yup, It's a story like the one about Asbestos and DDT. In the EU, there is even legistlation that goes (a lot) further, called REACH. People should be reminded that any chemical, that is not bio-degradeable, ends up on our plate and accumulates in the whole eco-system.

The fear born of ignorance is at work (1, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771575)

> It's a story like the one about Asbestos and DDT.

Exactly. Fear over reason. Asbestos isn't nearly so dangerous, if handled correctly, as to outweigh the benefits it provides. Yes when it was used carelessly (even if from ignorance at the time) and people were working daily in a cloud of the stuff without even a filter mask, it caused some nasty side effects. But on the other hand it could have been tamed with a bit of effort and kept on saving lives. Had the World Trade Center buildings been finished with asbestos many experts believe they would have survived.

Same with DDT. Sprayed indiscriminately with no though there were enough bad side effects it was a net harm. But since the scare and ban a few million people have died from malaria who could have been saved with a more sensible use of the stuff. But they are poor brown and black people so screw em if the spotted owls are OK, right? After all we still need to lose a couple of billion people if we are going to stop global warming.

Same here. We will overly worry over a few people who MIGHT be spared from cancer or some other horrible disease and carefully ignore how many WILL die or be horribly maimed because we eliminated yet another fire retardant material.

Manufacturers should stop bending over and taking this. Give em exactly what they asked for! Make special products for WA without the material but with a big label marked thus:

"This product was made especially for Washington State. It does not contain PBDEs in accordance with local law. Because of this it IS LESS SAFE and DOES NOT qualify for a UL listing because it does not meet the requirements for being flame retardant. Purchase and use of this unlisted product may void your homeowners insurance policy. At point of sale the attached contract must be completed and signed stating that buyer understands the risks and assumes all liability for any damages due to fire.

It also carries a $20 surcharge to cover our expenses in stocking a special version of this product.

See our website at [url of manufacturer] for more information and to obtain a list of the mental defectives who passed the law responsible for this state of affairs."

Re:But if the children (3, Informative)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770999)

We still have some other ammunition for the flame retardant applications. Aluminum hydroxide [chemicalland21.com] , Magnesium hydroxide [magspecialties.com] , Phosphorus based stuff [greatlakes.com] , intumescent stuff [wikipedia.org] , nanoclay stuff, melamine crystals [specialchem4polymers.com] ... It maybe a painful for industrial players, they have to figure out a way, but it's going to be OK for consumers.

In soviet russia (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18770733)

PBDEs flame you

As opposed to burning to death? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18770763)

This might be the first recorded Think-Of-The-Children infinite loop:

"If you get rid of the flame retardant, people will die in fires. Think of the children!"
"No, YOU think of the children, who are filling up with toxic chemicals!"
"YOU think of the children, who are currently on fire!"
(and so forth)

Meanwhile, the children grow up and move to Vancouver.

Re:As opposed to burning to death? (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771057)

"YOU think of the children, who are currently on fire!"
(and so forth)

Meanwhile, the children grow up and move to Vancouver.

One would think that being on fire might retard the maturation process in children, never mind Canadian Immigration being ok with immigrants ablaze.

Re:As opposed to burning to death? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18771099)

Um, Vancouver WA is just north of Portland, OR in case you were thinking of Canada. :)

Re:As opposed to burning to death? (4, Funny)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771161)

Canada, aka Canuckia, is getting a lot stricter with its immigration policies. These days I'm pretty sure that showing up at a checkpoint while on fire will get you detained for a fairly lengthy interview with Canuckian authorities.

Re:As opposed to burning to death? (5, Funny)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771475)

As a Canadian I can assure you that our ever-vigilant Customs and Immigration officers would ask several sternly worded questions before they admitted such a person.

Re:As opposed to burning to death? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18771523)

At which point they would be sued for discrimination against flamers...(interpret as you will)

So ... ? (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770769)

... does this mean that work on Vista will have to be moved out of state?

Re:So ... ? (2, Funny)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770871)

... does this mean that work on Vista will have to be moved out of state?

Nah, it goes down in flames at the drop of a hat.

Re:So ... ? (5, Funny)

beckerist (985855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771009)

You'd be surprised at the current effectiveness of Vista's Firewall. Talk about retardant!

Washington Toxics Coalition (3, Funny)

Expertus (1001346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770779)

'The industry that makes deca and PBDEs is freaking out because they lost so severely in Washington state and other states will follow,' said a spokeswoman for the Washington Toxics Coalition.
They might have stood a better chance with a different name

Re:Washington Toxics Coalition (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770825)

The Toxics Coalition is the group that helped enact the ban. The industry would certainly never release a statement that actively encourages other states to follow.

Re:Washington Toxics Coalition (4, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771165)

It's not as bad as the Washington Biological Survey, abbreviated as "Wash. Biol. Surv.", which people may mistake as animal cooking instructions.

Money talks? (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770793)

This is despite the more than $220,000 the chemical industry has spent since 2005 to defeat the legislation.

Wow a whole $200k over two years; they must really be serious!

Re:Money talks? (3, Funny)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770839)

No kidding. You can't even buy ONE congresscritter for that these days, unless they are cheap or desparate.

Re:Money talks? (4, Funny)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771313)

that much money bought them 3 lobbysts and a magic marker, but they had to SHARE the magic marker.
    In other news the Washington state legislature passed a bill that outlawed the most common casue of fire: Oxygen. The bill mandates that industry provide an alternative to this dangerous gas within the next 4 years. In a move seen by many as a landmark case Washington may well become the first Oxygen free state in the nation.

Re:Money talks? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771487)

The only way 22,000 can equal 200k is if you are operating in base 1.6001. Of course, this would explain a lot about the way the Government works.

Washington State, Don't come crying back.... (3, Interesting)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770805)

...When you can't buy anything flame resistant or UL listed. Or anything, for that matter. Is Washington a big enough state to overcome the costs associated with a differentiated product line? Will companies even make things that can't cost-effectively comply with other regulations and industry liability practices that require flame resistance?

I'm not sure but I guess we'll find out.

Re:Washington State, Don't come crying back.... (2, Informative)

thebdj (768618) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770945)

I believe that companies are already doing this with RoHS compliant materials. Which if I recall, is a requirement for the EU. So I don't think it would be a big issue, but most items sold in the US are hardly RoHS compliant.

Re:Washington State, Don't come crying back.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18770997)

For the sake of those of use who don't know WTF RoHS is, define pls?

Re:Washington State, Don't come crying back.... (1)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771077)

Restriction of Hazardous Substances. Taking the lead out of solder, etc.

Re:Washington State, Don't come crying back.... (1)

thebdj (768618) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771091)

Restriction of Harzardous Substances directive. It was a directive issued by the EU meant to reduce lead, cadmium, PBDEs, and two or three other substances from electronic materials. It caused a huge stir because anyone who knows about soldering knows good solder currently uses lead, where as without the lead you can get tin whiskers that can create shorting issues.

Re:Washington State, Don't come crying back.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18771251)

For those who don't know, those wiskers form between conductors shorting out the electronic device. Some clear when the circuit is closed, some cause something else to fail when the circuit is closed and some cause a direct failure.
The bottom line is reduced reliability and a whole new source of failed electronic trash that can't be recycled, can't be burried in land fills and can't be left around the house.

Re:Washington State, Don't come crying back.... (4, Insightful)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771167)

China, Europe and Japan have banned PBDE, plus California, I think Washington is going to be OK.

Re:Washington State, Don't come crying back.... (4, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771291)

Is Washington a big enough state to overcome the costs associated with a differentiated product line?

If you read the article- there are alternatives to the banned chemicals. In fact, the same companies that make the banned chemicals make the alternatives.

The wonderful thing about capitalism is that it is remarkably adaptive. Even if Washington State isn't very large, they still represent a lot of buying power. I once read that my local town's residents have the buying power in the hundreds of millions of dollars...

Let's also not forget that "making things easy for corporations" (which pay single-digit percentages of taxes, when in the 50's they paid about half) should be the absolute least of our priorities, especially when it comes to matters of public health.

Watch the Bill Moyer special sometime about pollution- give a sample of your blood to someone with an analytical lab, and they'll be able to find hundreds, if not thousands, of industrial chemicals. They've become completely pervasive.

invest invest invest (1)

Don Qigong (1089617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771593)

Start investing in companies which specialize in removal... or start one yourself if you have the capital. Keep an eye out for the noted replacement materials and invest in companies which will produce and distribute it.

What the ... ? (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770813)

That's not the point, Kyte said. Deca is safe and shouldn't become the "poster child" for stricter regulations just because a chemical is detected in people or the environment.

Isn't that a HUGE issue? The chemical is CONCENTRATING itself in the food chain.

Either show that it decomposes into safe, naturally occurring chemicals or realize that it is time to look at banning it BEFORE it hits levels that are hazardous.

yes, it's in the food chain (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770873)

naturally [wikipedia.org] :

Surprisingly, an experiment done the at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts in 2005 showed that the isotopic signature of PBDEs found in whale blubber contained carbon-14, the naturally occurring radioactive isotope of carbon. If the PBDEs in the whale had come from artificial (human-made) sources, they would have only contained carbon-12 and no carbon-14 due to the fact that virtually all PBDEs which are produced artificially use petroleum as the source of carbon, all carbon-14 would have long since completely decayed from that source.[2] The experiment thus shows that there must be some as yet unidentified natural source of PBDEs. However this source is extremely unlikely to account for the concentrations of PBDEs measured in human tissues, wildlife, household dust and common foods.


The word you skipped was "concentrating". (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771017)

Whether it occurs naturally or not is not the issue.

The issue is whether it is concentrating itself in the food chain (and humans).

Since it seems that it is, it should be limited until it can be determined whether there is any damage associated with it or not.

if it occurs naturally (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771483)

it's also concentrating naturally

yes, artificial sources can accelerate that concentrating above natural thresholds across which bad things start happening. so ban the chemicals, what do i care? i'm not contradicting the parent or the washington law. good law, i say

my point is simply that the issue is not so simpleminded: "industrial chemicals baaaaad"

no, plenty of natural chemicals rot your body, and plenty of artificial ones improve your health. i'm just sick of the simpleminded rhetoric that industrial chemical makers are out to give all of us cancer just to make a few bucks. that's hollywood, not reality. and reality is that, on the balance, industrial chemicals have improved our lives and our health. yes, that really is the truth

sorry if i'm not so simpleminded and propagandized as other people

Re:yes, it's in the food chain (1)

IthnkImParanoid (410494) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771131)

So it occurs naturally, but in much lower concentrations than those currently measured in us and a lot of the food we eat. What's your point? I ask because my first impression was that you were attempting to contradict the parent, but the quoted material seems to support his position.

i'm not trying to contradict the parent (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771407)

like a lot of problema in society, it's not so simple. ban the f*** out of these chemicals, what do i care? but at least get the facts straight, and the facts say these chemicals occur naturally, and if they occur naturally, it complicates the job of quantifying their real threat to us

mother nature is full of vile evil chemicals. just because something is natural, doesn't make it good, and just because something is artificial, doesn't make it bad. i just hate that simplistic look at life and these sorts of problems that says anything coming out of dupont is meant to give you cancer and the suits are out to kill you for a few bucks. that's not reality, that's paranoid schizophrenia

we derive benefits from artificial chemicals. we also suffer because of the effects of natural chemicals. this issue is not a simple matter of "industrial chemicals baaaad". so we need more science, and less simple-minded rhetoric on this and many other chemicals

Re:What the ... ? (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771601)

These are two separate issues. Namely bioaccumulation and biodegredation.

So there are four possible scenarios:
It doesn't bioaccumulate and biodegrades - best possible situation- also not likely given the fact that we can measure it in the environment.

It neither bioaccumulates nor biodegrades - that means once you make it it is around for a good long time, but it doesn't build up in the body or in wildlife. This probably means it doesn't pose a health risk, although it could cause a pollution issue.

It both bioaccumulates and biodegrades - almost a non-possibility because if it degrades it can't accumulate - unless something in your body is preventing it from degrading - which would be something worth studying.

It bioaccumulates and doesn't biodegrade - this is a big flashing ban (or at least restrict) now banner. IMO if this is the case the onus is on the manufactures to show some pretty solid evidence that there are no health risks even with high concentrations anywhere in the food chain. (friendly compounds like mercury, PCBs, and DDT live here.)

And in other news... (0, Flamebait)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770819)

It really is a message from Washington state and policymakers that we won't accept chemicals that build up in our bodies and our children."

...She then went on to describe the huge new civil fines Washington state plans to impose on manufacturers of furniture, televisions, and computers that burst into flames.


Seriously, they need to think these things throught just a wee bit more - Whether requiring a given level of flame-resistance and then bitching about the toxicity of most flame retardants, or banning leaded gasoline in the '70s, only to replace it with MTBE that behaves exactly like lead in the environment.

Sometimes "bad" still counts as the lesser of two evils.

Re:And in other news... (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771023)

Seriously, they need to think these things throught just a wee bit more - Whether requiring a given level of flame-resistance and then bitching about the toxicity of most flame retardants, or banning leaded gasoline in the '70s, only to replace it with MTBE that behaves exactly like lead in the environment.

And now we're replacing it with ethanol, which doesn't.

MTBE is still better than lead, because lead never breaks down, being elemental. But don't let the facts get in your way.

Requiring a given level of flame resistance is not unreasonable, nor is refusing to use chemicals which are somehow ending up in the food chain. That may mean they end up sitting on a bunch of unpadded metal furniture or something. I don't particularly care.

Sometimes "bad" still counts as the lesser of two evils.

Seldom are there ever only two choices.

You're acting like this is the only fire retardant available, or that there aren't ways to reduce flammability that don't involve spraying toxics on your products or otherwise making them unsafe.

Re:And in other news... (1)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771213)

Who's the pot and who's the kettle here?

Ethanol is made from ... food. So...let the rest of the world starve to death (corn is the staple food source for a lot of the world and there's only so much which can be grown) so you can burn ethanol in your automobile?

Never mind that it takes almost as much energy to make ethanol as you'd get from burning it, you have to burn more of it than gasoline to get the same energy return and it destroys your designed-for-gasoline engine all of which means more pollution and higher cost than burning gasoline.

Yeah, you've really thought about this, haven't you?

Re:And in other news... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771245)

Ethanol is made from ... food. So...let the rest of the world starve to death (corn is the staple food source for a lot of the world and there's only so much which can be grown) so you can burn ethanol in your automobile? [...] Yeah, you've really thought about this, haven't you?

I've thought about it a lot more than you have, which is why I realize that ethanol can be made from stocks other than corn. For instance, algaes store both carbohydrates and fats. When you make biodiesel, you can also make ethanol. The remaining material makes an ideal fertilizer.

Nice try, kid, but this whole debating thing isn't your thing.

Re:And in other news... (2, Informative)

It'sYerMam (762418) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771409)

Never mind that it takes almost as much energy to make ethanol as you'd get from burning it

I should hope so, thermodynamics tends to ensure things like that. Ethanol, petrol, coal, etc are all just ways of transporting energy in usable form. You're not magically creating any new energy. The idea behind using ethanol instead of petrol is that currently there's a lot of CO2 stored in petrol, but by growing plants then burning them, we're not adding any CO2 to the atmosphere.

Unless you were referring to energy required to actually process crops into ethanol, in which case you might remember that the crops from which ethanol is refined produce byproducts capable of also being harnessed for their energy content.

Re:And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18771637)

"Ethanol is made from ... food. So...let the rest of the world starve to death (corn is the staple food source for a lot of the world and there's only so much which can be grown) so you can burn ethanol in your automobile?"

Umm... yes. Considering that the rest of the world can generally be counted on to do fucking nothing when asked, let them starve.

Re:And in other news... (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771581)

And now we're replacing it with ethanol, which doesn't

Great example, though not how you meant it - Rather than carefully looking into the available options and choosing a better one such as ethanol (or even higher-quality gasoline, which doesn't need oxygenates or antiknock additives) right from the get-go, we banned lead and got something almost as bad (yes, MTBE does eventually decay - but it can take over a decade).



Seldom are there ever only two choices.

Very true - But on this particular topic, banning the currently most popular product means industry will go with the next cheapest legal solution, regardless of actual safety.

Re:And in other news... (1)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771239)

As usual, some slashmoron has thought about the issue for 10 seconds and thinks he has all the answers. The Washington State ban on deca-DBE only goes into effect /after/ a state agency certifies a suitable flame retardant for any given application. In short, you're an ignorant douchelord who doesn't know even the first thing about the issue.

Re:And in other news... (3, Funny)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771619)

In short, you're an ignorant douchelord

I bow before your superior eloquence.

Doesn't seem like that much (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770827)

If the "chemical industry" is really so against, wouldn't they have done more? I mean really, $220,000 over two years doesn't exactly sound like they're really fighting this ban.

Re:Doesn't seem like that much (1)

autocracy (192714) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771007)

How much could you possibly spend on it to convince a body of 147 about the issue? When's the last time somebody spend $1,500 just to try and convince you alone of something?

Trade Offs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18770833)

Everything in life is a trade off. How many actual deaths can be confirmed that resulted from exposure to these chemicals (probably zero but lets be generous) versus the number of deaths from fire that have been prevented by them?

Inflamatory rhetoric (2, Insightful)

jamesl (106902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770893)

"Long-used but potentially dangerous industrial chemicals" is an inflamatory and misleading phrase that can refer to things like gasoline, isopropyl alcohol and super glue.

Re:Inflamatory rhetoric (2, Funny)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771149)

Don't forget dihydrogen monoxide!

erm... (1)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770911)

...why didn't the industry use the thousands of bucks to develop a replacement instead of burning it for ads and bribing? i'm sure you can add a few more thousands to the sum which were spent "inofficially". okay, developing new materials might cost just a few dollars more, but you would have

a) a stable income based on these new materials
b) eventually something like good media and following that --> a slightly better reputation.

okay, this is far too logical.

Re:erm... (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771135)

Whatever replacement they could come up with will eventually be claimed to be harmful in some way, possibly in some way worse than deca. So coming up with a substitute is not really a good game plan.

Re:erm... (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771457)

So we should never try to do anything to make the world a better place, because it will always backfire in the end? That's gotta be the worst defense of the status quo I've ever heard.

What's your plan, just let industry fuck with citizens however they like?

Re:erm... (1)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771399)

Industry doesn't like to change, ever.

    Of course, previous posters upthread have mentioned substances already found to be safer being used in the EU. So, it's not like there isn't something else already available...

Article or Editorial?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18770921)

This article is so spun and slanted, it's amazing that it doesn't spin around and fall over on its side.

"freaking out," yeah, okay. Maybe "quite concerned about possible sweeping actions and measures without any substantial proof" might be a better way to put it.

Demonstrate (if you can't prove) that there is _good_ reason for concern before flying off the handle.

Re:Article or Editorial?? (1, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771053)

Demonstrate (if you can't prove) that there is _good_ reason for concern before flying off the handle.

Demonstrate (if you can't prove) that there is _good_ reason to believe that this stuff is harmless?

Re:Article or Editorial?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18771175)

Nothing is absolutely harmless, this includes such common substances as water and oxygen. While we can tolerate larger doses of those (obviously), every chemical, natural or synthetic, has a threshold at which point it becomes a health hazard.

moderation (0, Flamebait)

flynt (248848) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770923)

This legislation deserves to be modded (-1, Flamebait).

Almost recursive (2, Funny)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771255)

The post calling for a -1 Flamebait mod being moded -1 Flamebait tickles my weird sense of humor. What's next, a post asking for a +1 Insightful mod getting moded +1 Insightful?

Re:moderation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18771391)

mods, this should be at +5 funny or +5 flamebate haha.

Another step towards a States Rights battle? (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770943)

The Bush administration has been stacking government agencies with people who have no interest in exercising their agencies power. The whole purpose of those appointments appears to be one of reduced regulation of corporate entities. But what will happen when State laws are getting in the way of the Bush administration's de-regulation plans? Will Bush and party push for federal legislation limiting state's rights to enforce stricter than federal laws? Given his actions over the last 6+ years, I wouldn't be surprised.

-Rick

Re:Another step towards a States Rights battle? (4, Funny)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771117)

I would not be surprised either — promises to "cut the red tape" and reduce the regulatory burden is part of the reason I vote Republican...

Re:Another step towards a States Rights battle? (2, Interesting)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771183)

Will Bush and party push for federal legislation limiting state's rights to enforce stricter than federal laws?

Bush wouldn't be the first. For whatever reason, the Clean Air Act [cleancarscampaign.org] states that nobody can set stricter standards for vehicle emissions than the federal government unless California does, and then those states have to use standards identical to California for a given model year (or back down to the federal requirements).

They've already done that. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771191)

State-level "medical marijuana" laws have been invalidated because the Supreme Court said the Feds have the right to regulate inter-state commerce.

Yeah, it makes no sense. But they ruled on it.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/06/06/scotus.medical.m arijuana/ [cnn.com]

Re:Another step towards a States Rights battle? (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771229)

Industry has been very successful at turning back regulation at the federal level with Bush in power, as you say. Hooray for industry. Soon, though, they're going to be asking themselves whether they'd be better off with reasonable federal regulation, as opposed to an emerging patchwork of tougher regulations from states that are increasingly forced to assume responsibilities that the federal government is abrogating. You may be hearing the sound of the pendulum swinging...

Game over, man (2, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770949)

"It really is a message from Washington state and policymakers that we won't accept chemicals that build up in our bodies and our children."

"So we're going to save a lot of money and a lot of kids."

Someone used the rootkit.

I dont think so... (1)

Chris whatever (980992) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770951)

"t really is a message from Washington state and policymakers that we won't accept chemicals that build up in our bodies and our children.'"

or maybe it's just because they havent receive that big fat bag of money to keep quiet and kill the legislation.

Re:I dont think so... (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771223)

So cynical, Chris.

Has it ever occurred to you that there may be a third option? To wit: maybe the good people of Washington state like being on fire. It's good for you! Builds character in kids!

I tell ya, people these days don't know how good they have it.

Are PBDEs like transfat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18770969)

The food industry was happy using saturated fats until the CSPI and the food nannies said lets go polyunsaturated. The industry got slammed for using sat fats and then got blamed for the transfats when it was the well-intentioned food nannies that lead to the change?

Did the furniture industry start putting PBDEs in the materials or were they compelled by some well-intentioned safety group or legislation? I'd like to know before I'm forced to hear a bunch of posts about how EVIL corporations are poisioning us when they just may have responded to the do-gooders.

New ceramic furniture coming soon (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#18770993)

This will also create more jobs in Washington state as consumers discover it is not possible to ship a chair made out of baked clay for a reasonable price. This will inspire a great number of new startup companies producing furniture in Washington state that compiles with both regulations banning chemicals whlie preserving the fireproof nature of chairs, couches and bedding.

Look for that distinctive reddish color of new Washington state approved furniture.

Movers will not be pleased with this, but the home improvement companies will have all the work they can handle - reinforcing floors to hold the new furniture.

Re:New ceramic furniture coming soon (1)

Deagol (323173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771289)

They could contract with the makers of the $179 "Adobe" car.

(sheesh, I'm getting old. That SNL episode was made about 20 years ago...)

Re:New ceramic furniture coming soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18771337)

but the home improvement companies will have all the work they can handle - reinforcing floors to hold the new furniture.

They're already busy as it is reinforcing the floors to hold the new 103" plasma TVs.

As an aside, ceramic couches have to suck.

Ceramic furniture (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771395)

Of course, then someone will discover that ceramics have a higher radiation emissions than furniture made of wood and plastics. This will lead to legistlation to make sure manufacturers use materials that have any minute trace, naturally-occurring, radioactive matter removed.

Abuse of states' rights? (2, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771015)

I'm big on states' rights over federal ones, and local laws over state ones, on the assumption that the closer to home, the better the legislators will deal with what's actually going on. (Also lobbies find it much harder to affect vast numbers of low-level officials, even though you can buy them off with (1) hooker and (1) thimbleful of blow, rather than having to give them a whole sorority for a weekend -- coz there are just so many low-level officials compared to senators.)

But I have to wonder, at the same time, at what point legislation stops being about good-for-the-people, or even look-I'm-doing-something-vote-for me, and starts being about legislating morals, ethics, and such. One part of me wishes more states would make like California and start making effective carbon-emission-reduction laws, or Washington, making effective anti-dangerous-chemical laws, but how long before Tennessee bans birth control pills as suspect carcinogens, or any of a variety of other handwaving subterfuges that are intended not to make people safer but to force them towards different behavior? Maybe states' rights isn't such a hot idea after all.

Re:Abuse of states' rights? (2, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771195)

Aside from the fact that your example is purely speculative, you are also free to move to a state which lines up with your personal preferences.

If we truly had states' rights, the several states would each adopt a particular point on the economic and moral continuua, and people can choose where they like to live.

Re:Abuse of states' rights? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18771299)

But I have to wonder, at the same time, at what point legislation stops being about good-for-the-people, or even look-I'm-doing-something-vote-for me, and starts being about legislating morals, ethics, and such.

It's got so bad in my state that they actually outlawed murder, not just because it's expensive but because it's "wrong".

Re:Abuse of states' rights? (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771471)

I'm confused. What puts the federal government above legislating morals and ethics? Is it because they supposedly represent too large of a cross section (despite pretty much everyone in Congress coming from a different part of a different state)?

On the bright side (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771027)

This should certainly make those battery fires more interesting.

Oh, wait, that's not a bright side. Except literally.

compound info (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771125)

These polybrominated diphenyl ethers are compounds that are thought to cause damage to the environment at higher levels than today but this could change. the long term health effects of these chemicals isn't as well known as we would like but is's probably a good idea to go on the side of caution [thalidamide and t-butyl methyl ether to name a few that went horribly wrong] although right now industry won't like it because they can't make money off of their sale, it is much better to be alive and healthy because of the ban and lose money than the alternative. US gov PBDE faq http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/phs68-pbde.ht ml [cdc.gov] canadian PBDE faq http://www.ec.gc.ca/CEPARegistry/documents/subs_li st/PBDE_draft/PBDEfaq.cfm [ec.gc.ca]

Cheapskates (1)

cedricfox (228565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771151)

A quarter of a million dollars on something as vital to their business model as the continued right to poison our kids?

Clearly they were being stingy with the bribe money. Their successors won't make the same mistake.

Lawyers next? (1)

tut21 (860295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771205)

Cheers to the state of Washington for banning industry freaks.

Here we go... (5, Insightful)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771249)

Lemme see here:

1. Have mature product with static revenues
2. Have legislature ban mature product
3. Feebly fight against ban so you can tell public you tried
4. Introduce new, more expensive product
5. Profit!!

One quiet phone call (1)

matt me (850665) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771277)

This could all be settled satisfactorily for everyone involved if someone puts in a sweet phone call to the Microsoft folks down in Florida. The mafium leave nothing but a few concrete boots.

government mandated "solutions" (4, Insightful)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771343)

...and they also want to require compact fluorescent bulbs which...contain mercury, another cumulative poison which doesn't break down.

Yes, folks, the same government nannies will have your neighbors throwing mercury into the trash. Never mind that it will get into the ground and your water supplies, costs more, is inferior light and sends money to the Chinese communists.

Never mind that the same thinking banned DDT which meant millions of Africans have died from malaria or that liberated prisoners from the Nazi death camps were bathed in DDT to kill the bugs living on them or that "Silent Spring" has been shown to be a work of fiction.

Never mind that banning asbestos created more danger because removing asbestos is more dangerous than using it properly, automobile brakes are nowhere near as capable, costs increased and, oh, yeah, the WTC would have stood longer because it was designed to survive airplane hits provided the guts were protected by asbestos so it would have stood a few more hours.

Nope, those who know what's best for us must rise and save us from ourselves.

mercury in CF bulbs (5, Informative)

raygundan (16760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771579)

Throwing a CF bulb in the garbage at the end of its life produces releases about half as much mercury as a coal plant powering an equivalent regular bulb. Note that this figure includes the smaller amount of mercury produced powering the CF bulb.

Given that coal is roughly 50% of all the power generation in the US, and that lighting is less than 50% of all power usage-- switching all standard bulbs to CF will result in a net reduction in environmental mercury *in addition* to reducing numerous other pollutants produced by generation.

And as a final note: which do you think is easier to collect and recycle? Mercury in bulbs, or mercury nicely mixed into our atmosphere?

Wait...they're banning industry freaks? (3, Funny)

wramsdel (463149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771369)

So does that mean that Steve Ballmer has to move?

Alternative Flame Retardant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18771403)

Years ago the fiberglass industry started adding chlorine to polyester resin as a flame retardant. When the resin burned it released chlorine gas to starve the flame of oxygen. If you don't die of the fire, you'll die of the chlorine!

People do not smoke like they use to! (1)

dangermen (248354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771441)

People do not smoke like they use to. Thus it is probably a statistically safe bet to leave the fucking PBDEs out. Heck, I'd pay more if I had to to get a couch w/o the retardant on it. Either way, provide the market options. Let consumers choose but provide legislative protection for companies that do or do not use PBDEs so long as they label.

I've gotten worried about this myself (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771489)

Just finished removing asbestos tile from my house :). What's really scary is our food supply. Sodium Nitrate, BHT, TBHQ, MSG, Hydrolized Proteins, Sulfates, Red 40. There's so much stuff in our food that's potentially or known to be a carcinogen. My personal fav is Sodium Nitrate, which was found be carcinogenic because it was causing actual cancer in cows it was fed to (the cows were being given feed made from old Herring). It's banned in Germany, but here in the USA we just add some Asorbic Acid in the hope that it'll stop it from breaking down into nitrosomes.

China (1)

nikros (1037028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771521)

I wonder how this will affect china made furniture, or any furniture made outside us borders

I need to get out of the lab. (1)

pshumate (1004477) | more than 7 years ago | (#18771539)

I read that headline literally and pictured the newspapers. "Washington Turns Into Vacuum, Sucks Even More"
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