The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is initiating risk assessments on 20 flame retardants and three other chemicals found in everyday consumer products. New Jersey’s senior U.S. Senator is urging the EPA to conduct further evaluations of chemicals found in household products like children’s cribs.

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“The evidence is building that flame retardants are threatening the health of our children and families in their own homes, and I am proud to see the EPA taking steps to better evaluate the risks from these substances,” says U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg. “Unfortunately, the EPA remains severely limited under existing law and is unable to fully address the risks revealed by its assessments.”

Recent studies have found toxic flame retardant chemicals in a number of everyday household products, such as couches, mattresses, and even children’s products such as nap mats and cribs.

“We must reform our broken chemical laws if we ever hope to truly protect American families from dangerous chemicals,” explains Lautenberg. “We will continue working to pass new laws to ensure that every chemical that comes into contact with a child has been proven safe.”

Scientific research has shown that a number of flame retardant chemicals are toxic and are linked to cancer, as well as various neurological and developmental diseases according to a press release issued today by Lautenberg.

While these chemicals are purported to make products more flame resistant, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has found that most do not provide any significant protection against the risk of fires in most cases.