BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 127
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:  May 15, 2013

                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

                   AB 127 (Skinner) - As Amended:  April 22, 2013 

          Policy Committee:                              Natural  

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:              


          This bill requires the State Fire Marshal (SFM) in consultation  
          with the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home  
          Furnishing, and Thermal Insulation (Bureau) to propose building  
          standards to the Building Standards Commission relating to the  
          use of chemical flame retardants.
          Specifically, this bill: 

          1)Requires the SFM by January 1, 2015 to propose updated  
            flammability standards for adoption by the BSC that maintain  
            building safety standards and give full consideration to the  
            long-term health and environmental effects of chemical flame  

          2)Requires the proposed building standards to ensure there is  
            adequate protection from fires that travel between walls and  
            into confined areas, crawl spaces, and attics.

          3)States numerous findings and declarations relating to the  
            environmental and health impacts of chemical flame retardants  
            and the merits of reducing flame retardant use in building  

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)Increased special fund costs to the SFM to propose building  
            standards in the range of $100,000 to $200,000.
          2)Unknown, likely minor costs to the Bureau for consultation.
          3)Minor, absorbable costs for the Building Standards Commission.


                                                                  AB 127
                                                                  Page  2


           1)Rationale.   According to supporters, a significant number of  
            peer-reviewed studies have linked chemical flame retardants  
            (generally halogenated organic compounds with chlorine or  
            bromine bonded to carbon) to numerous public health problems,  
            including cancer, neurological and reproductive impairments,  
            infertility, reduced IQ, hormone and thyroid disruption,  
            hearing deficits, and learning disorders.   Scientific  
            evidence has documented that many halogenated fire retardants  
            are persistent, accumulate up the food chain, and are now  
            found at increasing levels in people, wildlife, and our food  

             This bill is intended to update the state's building standards  
            relating to fire safety to reduce the need for chemical flame  
            retardants in building insulation without compromising safety.

           2)Opposition.  The California Conference of Carpenters and others  
            are concerned that the bill is premature and may lead to the  
            banning of substances prior to conclusive scientific evidence.  

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Jennifer Galehouse / APPR. / (916)