(AP) – Senators voted 29 to5 to give initial approval to the bill, which is strongly supported by firefighters and health advocates.
The proposal calls for a phase-out of so-called ":deca": forms of flame retardants in mattresses and upholstered furniture starting next January. They would be banned in televisions, computers and other plastic-cased home electronics by January 1st, 2010.
Supporters of the phaseout say scientific evidence shows the absorption of deca chemicals is a threat to women and children, because the chemicals are passed to infants through breast milk and to children through contact with household dust.
Firefighters say the chemical becomes more dangerous after it burns because it turns into a noxious gas that can be breathed in or absorbed through the skin.
Opponents of the legislation say deca is the most practical and cost-effective flame retardant in consumer products today, and that levels detected so far are below what’s considered dangerous.
The bill faces further legislative votes.