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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL)

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RELEASE: Gov. Walz Signs Rep. Becker-Finn's Bill to Protect Firefighters

Thursday, June 20, 2019

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Yesterday, Governor Tim Walz held a ceremonial signing for Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn’s bill to ban the use of flame-retardant chemicals in certain products (HF 359). The bipartisan legislation protects firefighters and children from the health risks associated with these toxic chemicals.

“There’s no purer form of public service than the work done by our firefighters,” said Rep. Becker-Finn (DFL – Roseville). “They shouldn’t experience preventable health risks because of their service. Protecting firefighters from exposure to toxic chemicals is an important way to provide better support for those who dedicate their lives to keeping the rest of us safe.”

Rep. Becker-Finn’s legislation prohibits manufacturing or selling furniture, fabric, and children’s products that contain flame-retardant chemicals above a certain threshold.

When they burn, flame retardants produce cancer-causing chemicals that have been linked to developmental and reproductive issues. Firefighters may inhale the carcinogens or absorb them through their skin. The chemicals can also get into dust, endangering young children who may crawl on the floor or put products in their mouths. Studies have shown that flame retardants are also ineffective at stopping fires.

The bill received support from Minnesota Professional Fire Fighters, Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association, Minnesota State Volunteer Firefighters Association, and Clean Water Action Minnesota. Earlier this week, firefighters presented Rep. Becker-Finn with a fire axe in recognition of her outstanding advocacy and support of firefighters locally and statewide.