US House panel summons flame retardant firms to hearing

14 April 2010 19:01  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--A key US House committee has summoned three chemical company chief executives to Washington for a hearing next month on whether flame retardants pose a human health hazard, officials said on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the Committee on Energy and Commerce said summons letters were sent to Charles Weidhas, president of ICL Performance Products, Mark Rohr, chief executive of Albemarle and Craig Rogerson, head of Chemtura, requesting their personal appearance and testimony at a hearing set for 20 May.

Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (Democrat-California) was quoted as saying the hearing would examine “the use and potential impact of flame retardant chemicals” manufactured by the three companies.

He said that “the persistent and bioaccumulative nature of flame retardant chemicals raises concerns regarding their impact on human health and the environment”.

“A growing number of peer-reviewed studies suggests a possible link between exposure to certain flame retardant chemicals and neurological, developmental, fertility and reproductive problems in animals and in humans,” Waxman said.

A committee source said that legislation to limit or ban the use of one or more flame retardants might result from the hearing.

The letter summons to the three executive also asked them to provide detailed information in advance of the hearing on the flame retardants the firms have produced at any time since January 2004.

The committee asked for details on the annual volumes produced and amounts sold of each flame retardant, the consumer products in which the chemicals are used and the top ten customers for each retardant.

In addition, the producers were to provide all documents related to potential health, safety or environmental effects of each flame retardant, including internal and external communications.

The health and safety information, said the summons, should include toxicity studies, life cycle assessments, risk assessments and any other chemical testing for each retardant, whether performed or commissioned by the company.

The committee also wanted any documents, studies or other information related to the flame safety effectiveness of the retardants.

The information was to be provided to the committee by 26 April, the spokeswoman said.

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By: Joe Kamalick
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