Chapter 591

2006 -- H 7917 SUBSTITUTE A

Enacted 07/14/06





     Introduced By: Representative Peter T. Ginaitt

     Date Introduced: March 21, 2006


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Title 23 of the General Laws entitled "HEALTH AND SAFETY" is hereby

amended by adding thereto the following chapter:






     23-13.4-1. Legislative findings. The legislature finds and declares all of the following:

     (a) Chemicals known as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are widely used in Rhode

Island. To meet stringent fire standards, manufacturers add BFRs to a multitude of products,

including plastic housing of electronics and computers, circuit boards, and the foam and textiles

used in furniture.

     (b) Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), which is a subcategory of BFRs, has

increased fortyfold in human breast milk since the 1970s.

     (c) PBDE has the potential to disrupt thyroid hormone balance and contribute to a variety

of developmental deficits, including low intelligence and learning disabilities. PBDE may also

have the potential to cause cancer.

     (d) Substantial efforts to eliminate BFRs from products have been made throughout the

world, including private and public sectors. These efforts have made available numerous

alternatives safe to human health while meeting stringent fire standards. To meet market demand,

it is in the interest of Rhode Island manufacturers to eliminate the use of BFRs.

     (e) In order to protect the public health and the environment, the legislature believes it is

necessary for the state to develop a precautionary approach regarding the production, use, storage,

and disposal of products containing brominated fire retardants.


     23-13.4-2. Definitions. For purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the

following meanings:

     (a) "DecaBDE" means decabromodiphenyl ether.

     (b) "OctaBDE" means octabrominated diphenyl ether or any technical mixture in which

octabrominated diphenyl ether is a predominate congener.

     (c) "PBDE" means polybrominated diphenyl ether.

     (d) "PentaBDE" means pentabrominated diphenyl ether or any technical mixture in which

pentabrominated diphenyl ether is a predominate congener including, but not limited to, metal

furniture, machinery, major appliances, electronic products, and wood-burning stoves.


     23-13.4-3. Manufacturing, processing or distribution. (a) Effective January 1, 2007,

a person may not manufacture, process, or distribute in commerce a product or a flame-retardant

part of a product containing more than one-tenth (1/10%) of one percent (1%) of pentaBDE or


     (b) Subsection (a) of this section does not apply to the following:

     (1) The sale by a business, charity, or private party of any used product containing PBDE.

     (2) The distribution in commerce of original equipment manufacturer replacement service

parts manufactured prior to the effective date of this act.

     (3) The processing of recycled material containing pentaBDE or octaBDE in compliance

with applicable state and federal laws.

     (4) Use of products containing small quantities of PBDEs that are produced or used or

used for scientific research on the health or environmental effects of PBDEs.


     23-13.4-4. "DecaBDE" Study By January 2, 2007, the department of environmental

management, shall submit to the general assembly a report that reviews the latest available

scientific research to address the following issues:

     (a) whether decaBDE is bio-accumulating in humans and the environment, and if so,

whether the levels of decaBDE are increasing, decreasing, or staying the same;

     (b) how are humans exposed to decaBDE;

     (c) what health effects could result from exposure to decaBDE, and are current levels of

exposure at levels that could produce these effects;

     (d) whether decaBDE breaks down into more harmful chemicals that could damage

public health; and

     (e) whether effective flame retardants are available for decaBDE uses, and whether the

use of available alternatives reduce health risks while still maintaining an adequate level of flame

retardant performance.


     23-13.4-5. Review of "decaBDE" Study By February 28, 2007, the department of

health, shall submit to the general assembly a report that reviews the department of environmental

management's decaBDE study. In addition to a review of any public health implications the

department of health believes would result from exposure to decaBDE, it shall also comment on

the following:

     (a) the known exposure pathways for humans to decaBDE;

     (b) what scientific evidence exists to demonstrate that decaBDE breaks down into other

chemicals that could pose public health concerns; and

     (c) what research and analysis exists on the potential human health effects of flame

retardants that could be used as alternative to decaBDE.


     23-13.4-6. Transportation of products containing PBDEs. Nothing in this chapter

restricts a manufacturer, importer, or distributor from transporting products containing PBDEs

through this state or storing PBDEs in this state for further distribution.


     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.



LC01634/SUB A