Mass. firefighters: Chemicals in flame retardants are harmful

Many children's products, upholstered furniture contain flame retardants

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Flame retardants can be found in many children’s products and upholstered furniture. It is supposed to prevent flames from spreading quickly, but Massachusetts firefighters argue it is putting many families in danger.

Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts President Edward Kelly said, “Really what we have is a bunch of harmful chemicals that all of us are exposed to.”

The group formally asked state lawmakers to ban the sale of products containing flame retardants. Firefighters said they already have an increased risk for cancer, and that these chemicals can worsen their health.

Another bill up for consideration would allow cities and towns to decide whether residents can use and sell fireworks. Right now, fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts, but people often smuggle them in from neighboring states where they are sold legally. They are dangerous. Burn surgeon Dr. Philip Chang told 22News he has seen terrible injuries caused by fireworks.

He said, “we had a case last year where a patient was holding a firework that exploded in their hand and their hand actually had to be amputated because of the severity of the explosion.”

Massachusetts is the only New England state that bans consumer fireworks. There is nearly no chance state lawmakers will act on the fireworks bill by Fourth of July.

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