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Message from IEAACC President Carl Dameron

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By Carl Dameron --

As President of The Inland Empire African American Chamber of Commerce one of my principal concerns is ensuring that the businesses and their employees in our community have the highest level of healthcare available to them, and that all health-related policy is in the best interest of our communities. SB 772 a ban on flame-retardants has recently come to my attention, and as the California legislature considers this bill, it is vital to remember the far-reaching ramifications of this legislation.

I understand that Deca-bde is by far the most studied and most understood flame retardant available commercially.

In fact, it was the sole focus of a 10-year-long Risk Assessment conducted by the European Union, and has also been analyzed and by such other groups as the US EPA, the National Academy of Sciences and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, all of whom have concluded that the product is safe for continued use.

Most recently, a study sponsored by an industry affiliate concluded that Deca-bde poses no risk to human health. And yet, there is still speculation as to the long-term effects of this chemical on the environment and humans. While there may still be questions regarding yet-to-be determined risks,

there are things we do know about this chemical. We know that it saves lives. We know that its efficacy is unquestioned and that the crucial moments that it adds allow firefighters to extinguish a blaze and would-be victims to escape with their lives and possessions.

Unfortunately, it is often the most disadvantaged communities that bear the brunt of these hasty decisions. Moreover, this bill would disproportionately affect the minority community, as many of these neighborhoods have higher density living quarters and older living facilities.

Statistically, low-income and minority communities already experience a disproportionate number of fire-related deaths, and SB 772 only exacerbates that existing problem.

Across the country, medical professionals, fire personnel, and activists have spoken out against banning these life-savings chemicals; and instead, have advocated for more study.

There must be balance in this argument between being good stewards of our environment while ensuring the fire safety of our state.

I hope to see a dialogue develop amongst the various parties in order to foster a willingness to build a new and stronger form of regulation based on scientific data for the state of California. Most

importantly, I hope to see a regulation that considers the safety of all residents of our wonderful state.

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