Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Toxic chemical ban proposed

Published (4/25/2008)
By Nick Busse
Share on: 

A toxic chemical used as a fire retardant would be phased out in Minnesota, under a proposal approved April 18 by a House committee.

HF934, sponsored by Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Mpls), would ban the manufacture or sale of decabromodiphenyl ether, also known as “deca-BDE.” The compound is commonly used in televisions, computers, mattresses, cables and other consumer products to help prevent fires. A Pollution Control Agency report released in January identified several environmental and health concerns associated with the chemical.

The House Finance Committee approved the bill and referred it to the House Ways and Means Committee. A companion, SF651, sponsored by Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul), was approved 47-16 April 21 by the Senate.

Under the bill’s provisions, the manufacture or sale of products containing more than one-tenth of 1 percent (by mass) of deca-BDE would be prohibited as of July 1, 2010. The restrictions would not apply to used products or products that are already in existence before that date.

Clark noted that Minnesota has already banned two other similar chemicals — penta-BDE and octa-BDE. She said local and national firefighters’ unions support the legislation, and added that several safer alternatives to the chemical exist.

“We’re not in any way trying to compromise our safety. In fact, we feel this makes it much safer from a public health standpoint,” she said.

Clark also said the European Union recently enacted a similar phase-out of the chemical that will take effect in June.

Session Weekly More...

Session Weekly Home

Related Stories

First Reading: From hazardous waste, good business
Product stewardship concept offers hope of a cleaner environment with less government
(view full story) Published 5/16/2008

Minnesota Index
Figures and statistics on Minnesota's outdoors
(view full story) Published 5/16/2008

Minnesota Index
Figures and statistics on waste and recycling in Minnesota
(view full story) Published 4/18/2008

First Reading: Vermilion in the balance
The clock is ticking on a proposal for a new state park in northern Minnesota
(view full story) Published 4/11/2008

At Issue: Clean cars vs. clean fuels
California ‘clean car’ emissions bill faces opposition from ethanol, auto industries
(view full story) Published 4/11/2008

Minnesota Index
Figures and statistics on state parks in Minnesota
(view full story) Published 4/11/2008

First Reading: A stinky situation
Cost concerns for small communities with wastewater treatment system needs
(view full story) Published 3/21/2008

At Issue: A costly cleanup
State forced into putting a price on clean drinking water
(view full story) Published 3/7/2008