By Staff Reports
(DGIwire) – Since the mid-1970s, America’s main law governing chemical safety was the Toxic Substances Control Act. Many critics alleged it was fatally flawed, allowing tens of thousands of potentially dangerous chemicals to remain on the market without any safety review—and permitting companies to put hundreds of new chemicals on the market every year without any demonstration they were safe.
That situation changed on June 22, 2016, when the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was signed into law. According to The Washington Post, the new law places stronger regulations on chemicals present in nearly every product Americans use, and the Environmental Defense Fund said it fixes the biggest problems with the old law.
According to the Post, the new law gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more oversight and stronger tools to monitor chemicals that in some cases could cause cancer and other health problems. Unlike the old law, the new one allows the EPA to block a potentially harmful chemical from the market. Chemicals with high-priority concerns will get faster reviews and companies can no longer hide behind “trade secret” claims to shield the identity of chemicals they use.
“The new regulations for chemical safety in the U.S. are bound to have a positive effect on Americans’ health,” says Nick Clark, CEO of Alexium International, a specialty chemicals company. “Over the past decades, one of the areas of concern among watchdog groups has been the use of potentially harmful chemicals in some flame-resistant products. It is encouraging to envision a new era in which flame-resistant products continue to offer the same level of safety from fire without compromising the health of individuals and the environment.”
Alexium specializes in developing environmentally friendly FR chemistries for products in a variety of industries as well as for military applications. The company currently sells various types of chemistries that can be customized including Alexiflam-NF for cotton-rich and wool-rich blends, and Alexicool, a cost-effective chemical finish for fabrics that provides a cool-to-the-touch feel to fabrics.
Alexium has “next-generation” formulations that employ products that have shown minimal risk to the body or to the environment. Some of these formulations have been specifically designed to avoid the risks associated with hazardous flame retardants such as Decabrom. Finally, Alexium’s formulations may offer a performance advantage since they preserve the original characteristics of the product being treated—and it can be laundered as many as 50 to 100 times without losing its FR protection.
“A world in which safer flame-retardant chemicals are the norm is a safer world for all,” adds Clark.