Chanler Group Serves over 100 Prop 65 Notices on Flame Retardants
Environmental Law Firm Holds Top Furniture Manufacturers Accountable For Toxic
BERKELEY, Calif. -- April 16, 2013
The Chanler Group (www.chanler.com) has served more than 100 “Sixty-Day
Notices of Violation” on leading furniture manufacturers alleging the presence
of flame retardants TDCPP and TCEP, referred to more simply as Tris, in their
products. The Chanler Group’s clients, Peter Englander, Laurence Vinocur, and
John Moore assert that unwarned exposure to Tris is a violation of Proposition
65, California’s unique right-to-know statute. TDCPP was added to the list of
toxic chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer in October
2011 under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986
On behalf of its clients, The Chanler Group has also filed lawsuits against
nine major manufacturers and retailers, demanding action be taken to properly
label their products in compliance with California’s Proposition 65. The
lawsuits come after previously served Sixty-Day Notices of Violation expired
without being enforced by public prosecutors. Companies facing lawsuits
include Officemax Inc., Ross Stores Inc., and Kinwai USA.
The Chanler Group and its clients immediately began an investigation of TDCPP
after it was listed by OEHHA in October of 2011. This investigation, conducted
throughout the one-year listing period, uncovered numerous products containing
high levels of Tris that were being sold in California without health hazard
TDCPP and TCEP are commonly added to household furniture to meet National Fire
Safety Standards. Prop 65 requires companies to provide proper consumer
warnings for all products containing toxic chemicals listed under the Act.
“Our goal is to protect the public from unwarned exposures to hazardous
chemicals by enforcing the requirements of Prop 65,” said Clifford Chanler,
founder and spokesperson for The Chanler Group
(www.chanler.com/our-firm/our-team/staff/clifford-chanler). “TDCPP is a
dangerous chemical found in common household furniture such as couches,
stools, and ottomans. It was important to us that we file these notices in a
timely manner to make consumers aware of the presence of these toxins.”
Upon the expiration of the one-year listing period in October 2012, The
Chanler Group began more substantive investigations, including purchasing
certain products known to contain polyurethane foam, a component to which
TDCPP can be added. The Chanler Group has since issued over 100 notices to
many furniture retailers and manufacturers including Ashley Furniture, Basset
Furniture, Best Buy, Costco, Flexsteel Industries, Kohl’s Department Stores,
Officemax, Pier 1, Ross Stores, and The TJX Companies.
Prior to legal action, each item was thoroughly tested for the presence of
Tris Phosphate by a certified laboratory. “The group and its clients have
independently purchased and tested hundreds of products that contain chemicals
known to violate Prop 65. Of those products tested, a significant portion
contained levels of TDCPP that necessitate a consumer warning,” said Chanler.
It appears that TDCPP and TCEP are intentionally added to the products that
the firm’s clients have investigated, and it is anticipated that the majority
of proposed future settlement agreements will initiate reformulation of the
products so that there is no “detectable” TDCPP or TCEP in the commercial
The Chanler Group partnered with Moscone Emblidge Sater & Otis on 12 of the
notices, and the two law firms will move forward together should the
manufacturers fail to comply with Proposition 65 in the given 60-day window.
Moscone Emblidge Sater & Otis is a San Francisco-based law firm with
experience in a wide range of practice areas, including business litigation
and public affairs.
The Chanler Group represents citizen enforcers and whistleblowers to promote
awareness of toxic chemicals found in our everyday environment and to enhance
the health of the general public by advocating for the removal of chemicals
known to cause cancer or reproductive harm from consumer products. The Chanler
Group and its clients apply over 20 years of knowledge and experience to their
ongoing enforcement activities with the goal of holding those responsible for
toxic exposures accountable for their violations of state and federal law.
The Chanler Group’s clients have also negotiated the reformulation of hundreds
of commonly used products with their manufacturers, eliminating chemicals
known to cause cancer or birth defects. Some of those manufacturers now
produce only non-toxic products. Additionally, The Chanler Group has been
instrumental in generating over $100 million in civil fines and other funds
for projects that educate children, workers and consumers about precautions
they can take to significantly reduce toxic chemical exposure. The Chanler
Group’s ongoing efforts effectuate change for a cleaner environment.
The Chanler Group
Gary Pike, APR, 415-585-2100
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