International Campaign Halts Bromine Industry Attempt to Influence Self-Serving Standards

May 23 2012

Toronto - CELA joins colleagues from around the world in celebrating a decision by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to vote against “candle-resistant” standards for televisions.

For over a decade the chemical industry has been promoting a new IEC standard that would have required TV casings to resist a candle flame. The industry push for this needless standard would have meant the annual use by TV manufacturers of hundreds of millions of pounds of toxic flame retardants. These chemicals would have added to the serious problem of contaminants in house dust, increased the environmental burden of these chemicals, placed fire fighters at high risk of toxic chemical exposure, and undermined e-waste recycling.

The IEC decision is determined by the votes cast by national committees with their process obliging them to vote “no” if 25% of countries also vote against. In fact, 43% of countries voted “no.”

“Unfortunately the Canadian Committee was among the countries that fell for the industry campaign,” noted Kathleen Cooper, Senior Researcher with the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA). “Nevertheless, we are thrilled that national committees in Australia, the UK, South Africa, and several European countries heard the advice and concerns raised by environmental experts from around the world.”

Detailed voting results are available on the IEC website.

For more information, see:
May 11, 2012 Media Release: Decision on Flame Retardants is a New Low in Public Policy Making on Chemical Safety
April 25th Media Release: Obscure Canadian National Committee to decide on needless toxics in our living rooms
CELA’s letter to the Canadian National IEC Committee,  and
The Case Against Candle-Resistant TVs on the website of the Green Science Policy Institute.
Four-part investigative series in the Chicago Tribune documenting the decades-long industry campaign on this issue. 

For more information, please contact:
Kathleen Cooper, Senior Researcher 705-341-2488 (cell)