BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

        |Hearing Date:June 24, 2013         |Bill No:AB                         |
        |                                   |127                                |

                               AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
                              Senator Ted W. Lieu, Chair

                         Bill No:        AB 127Author:Skinner
                          As Amended:May 29, 2013  Fiscal:Yes

        SUBJECT:  Fire safety:  fire retardants:  building insulation.
        SUMMARY:  Requires the State Fire Marshal, in consultation with the  
        Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings, and  
        Thermal Insulation, by January 1, 2015, to propose for adoption by the  
        Building Standards Commission building standards that maintain overall  
        fire safety, while giving full consideration to the long-term human  
        and ecological health impacts associated with chemical flame  

        Existing law:

       1)Licenses and regulates insulation manufacturers who sell insulation  
          material in California under the Home Furnishings and Thermal  
          Insulation Act (Act) by the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance  
          Repair, Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation (Bureau) within the  
          Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).  (Business and Professions  
          Code (BPC)  19000; 19059.7)

       2)Mandates that protection of the public shall be the highest priority  
          for the Bureau, and that whenever the protection of the public is  
          inconsistent with other interests sought to be promoted, the  
          protection of the public shall be paramount.  (BPC  19004.1)

       3)Defines "insulation material" to mean any material or combination of  
          materials applied or installed within or contiguous to a roof, wall,  
          ceiling, or floor of a building or structure, or contiguous to the  
          surface of any appliance or its intake or outtake mechanism, for the  
          purpose of reducing heat transfer and thus energy requirements for  
          heating and cooling or reducing adverse temperature fluctuations of  


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          the building, room, appliance, or structure.  
       (BPC  19019)

       4)Provides for the following under the Act:

           a)   Authorizes the Bureau, with input from the California Energy  
             Commission (CEC), the State Fire Marshal, manufacturers,  
             distributors, and licensed installers, to establish insulation  
             material standards governing the quality of all insulation  
             material sold or installed in the state, including safety and  
             thermal performance.  (BPC   19164) 

           b)   Requires that any standards adopted relating to insulation  
             material be submitted to the California Building Standards  
             Commission (BSC) for adoption into state building standards.   
             (BPC  19164)

           c)   Provides that insulation material may only be sold or  
             installed in the state which has been certified by the  
             manufacturer to have been tested in accordance with standards  
             adopted by the Bureau.  (BPC  19165)  

       5)Authorizes the State Fire Marshal (SFM) to develop building standards  
          relating to fire and panic safety and submit those standards to the  
          BSC for approval.  (Health and Safety Code (HSC)  13100 et seq.) 

       6)Establishes the processes related to the adoption, approval,  
          publication, and implementation of California's building codes under  
          the California Building Standards Law, and administered by the BSC.   
          These building codes serve as the basis for the design and  
          construction of buildings in California.  (HSC  18901 through  

       7)Provides that if no state agency has the authority or expertise to  
          propose green building standards applicable to a particular  
          occupancy, the BSC shall adopt, approve, codify, update, and publish  
          green building standards for those occupancies.  (HSC  18930.5)

       8)Requires BSC to consult with specified entities when developing green  
          building standards, including the Department of Resource Recycling  
          and Recovery, the California Energy Resources Conservation and  
          Development Commission, the California Air Resources Board, the  
          California Department of Water Resources, the California Department  
          of Transportation, the California Department of General Services,  
          the California Department of Public Health, and the Office of the  
          State Fire Marshal.  (California Administrative Code, Title 24,   


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        9) Under the Green Chemistry Imitative, requires the Department of  
           Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to adopt regulations to establish a  
           process by which chemicals or chemical ingredients in consumer  
           products may be identified and prioritized for consideration as  
           being Chemicals of Concern, as specified.  (HSC  25252)

        10)Directs DTSC, in adopting these regulations, to develop specified  
           criteria by which chemicals and their alternatives may be  
           evaluated.  (HSC  25252)

        11)Specifies that the Green Chemistry Initiative that those provisions  
           do not limit and shall not be construed to limit the DCSC's or any  
           other department's or agency's existing authority over hazardous  
           materials, and further specifies:  (HSC  25257.1)

           a)   Those provisions do not authorize the DTSC to supersede the  
             regulatory authority of any other department or agency.

           b)   Prohibits DTSC from duplicating or adopting conflicting  
             regulations for product categories already regulated or subject  
             to pending regulation for those purposes.

        This bill:

       1)Requires the SFM in consultation with the Bureau, by January 1, 2015,  
          to propose updated flammability standards for adoption by BSC that: 

           a)   Maintain overall building fire safety while giving full  
             consideration to the long-term health and environmental effects  
             of chemical flame retardants; and, 

           b)   Ensure that there is adequate protection from fires that  
             travel between walls and into confined areas, including crawl  
             spaces and attics.  

        FISCAL EFFECT:  This measure has been keyed "fiscal" by Legislative  
        Counsel.  The May 15, 2013 Assembly Appropriations Committee analysis  
        cites increased special fund costs to the SFM to propose building  
        standards in the range of $100,000 to $200,000.  The analysis cites  
        likely minor costs to the Bureau for consultation; and minor,  
        absorbable costs for the BSC.



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       1.Purpose.  This bill is sponsored by  United States Green Building  
          Council California  (Sponsor).  According to the Author, AB 127 calls  
          for a building code revision to update standards that result in the  
          use of flame retardant chemicals in building insulation while  
          maintaining building fire safety and encouraging healthy building  

       The Author states:  "Given the toxicity concerns surrounding flame  
          retardants, the code should be updated.  California is currently  
          acting to limit flame retardant use in furniture while maintaining  
          fire safety; now the same should be considered for building  
          insulation.  Should this bill pass, the code may be updated to  
          remove the flammability test requirement.  This will allow  
          flexibility for producers to provide insulation material with or  
          without flame retardants."

       2.Background.  The current state building code requires: 1) that a  
          thermal barrier be installed to provide structural elements with at  
          least 15 minutes of protection from fire, and 2) that insulation  
          pass a test for flammability without the thermal barrier.  The code  
          does not specifically call for the use of flame retardants on  
          plastic foam insulation.  However, it is common practice to use  
          flame retardants to meet the second code requirement.

       The code requirement that insulation pass a test for flammability  
          without the thermal barrier was instituted first, and this is when  
          flame retardants began to be used to pass the flammability test, but  
          the flame retardants were not providing enough fire protection.  In  
          response, the thermal barrier requirement was put in place, but the  
          flammability test was not removed.  The thermal barrier must provide  
          at least 15 minutes of fire protection.  When a fire is strong  
          enough to burn through that, the amount of flame retardant in the  
          insulation is insufficient for providing any fire safety benefit in  
          many cases.  The Author states that the bill asks that this issue be  
          reviewed and the code updated appropriately.

       3.Chemical Flame Retardants.  There are several human health effects  
          associated with flame retardants, including endocrine disruption,  
          decreased fertility, and decreased neurologic function.  Flame  
          retardants and the associated health concerns are found at greater  
          levels in low-income and minority communities.  There are also reuse  
          and disposal concerns surrounding insulation with flame retardants.

       A 2013 study titled: "Persistent Organic Pollutants including  
          Polychlorinated and Polybrominated Dibenzo-p-dioxins and  
          Dibenzofurans in Northern California" revealed that, compared to the  


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          general public, firefighters face more toxic exposure to these  
          chemicals due to the inherent toxicity of burned flame retardants,  
          which could be linked to firefighters' greater cancer risks.  

       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 supply.   
          Developing fetuses and young children are the most vulnerable.   
          Studies show that significant exposure occurs as halogenated fire  
          retardants escape from polyurethane foam used in furniture and other  
          products and are present in household dust.  According to the  
          Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the level of  
          polybromanated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) measured in humans in the  
          U.S. and Canada are typically 10 times higher than in Europe, and  
          appear to be doubling every few years.  These chemicals are known to  
          accumulate in blood, fat, and breast milk.  

        4. Bureau Regulation of Thermal Insulation.  Thermal insulation is an  
           important element of energy conservation.  It helps keep homes and  
           commercial buildings warm in the winter and cool in the summer.   
           Properly installed, thermal insulation lowers utility costs and  
           cuts energy consumption.  Thermal insulation improves energy  
           efficiency, which reduces greenhouse gases that contribute to  
           global climate change.

           The Bureau licenses, registers, and regulates nearly 39,000   
           businesses serving California consumers in industries involving  
           appliance, electronic and computer repair, service contracts;  
           manufacturers, importers,  retailers, upholsterers, sanitizers, and  
           supply dealers providing home furnishings products; and, thermal  
           insulation manufacturers providing thermal insulation products.   
           The Bureau's licensure program establishes minimum standards for  
           entry into the various professions and establishes requirements  
           designed to maintain or enhance licensee knowledge and ensure  
           consumer protection.  The Bureau also maintains an enforcement  
           program designed to protect consumers, minimize substandard  
           practice, and discipline licensees as warranted.  Routine industry  
           inspections and advisory events are conducted to promote consumer  
           protection, maintain a fair and competitive marketplace, and  
           provide educational opportunities to industry stakeholders and  


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           The Bureau is responsible for ensuring thermal insulation products  
           offered for sale in California perform at the level stated by the  
           manufacturer.  The Bureau licenses thermal insulation  
           manufacturers, certify thermal insulation products, and conduct  
           periodic compliance testing of samples.  If the Bureau finds  
           thermal insulation products that do not perform as certified and  
           are found to be in violation, it has the authority to order that  
           the product be withheld from sale and take action against the  

       5.Revision of Furniture Flammability Standards.  On June 18, 2012,  
          Governor Brown directed the Bureau to review and revise the state's  
          furniture flammability standards to reduce the use of toxic flame  
          retardants in home furnishings.  Governor Brown stated, "Toxic flame  
          retardants are found in everything from high chairs to couches and a  
          growing body of evidence suggests that these chemicals harm human  
          health and the environment.  We must find better ways to meet fire  
          safety standards by reducing and eliminating, wherever possible,  
          dangerous chemicals."  The Bureau has noticed the proposed  
          regulatory change and held a public hearing on the proposed  
          regulations in March 2013.

       While the updated requirements for furniture will reduce exposure to  
          chemical flame retardants, they are still widely used in building  
          insulation.  These chemicals are common in the various types of  
          "foam" insulation (i.e., polystyrene, polyisocyanurate, and  
          polyurethane) that are commonly used in green building projects.

       6.Green Chemistry Initiative.  The California Green Chemistry  
          Initiative was launched in 2007, as an effort by the California  
          Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) and DTSC.  Goals of the  
          Green Chemistry Initiative include developing a consistent means for  
          evaluating risk, reducing exposure, encouraging less-toxic  
          industrial processes, and identifying safer, non-chemical  
          alternatives.  In December of 2008, DTSC released its California  
          Green Chemistry Initiative "Final Report," which included six policy  
          recommendations for establishing a comprehensive green chemistry  
          program in California.  Since that time, a Green Ribbon Science  
          Panel was created (AB 1879, Feuer, Chapter 559, Statutes of 2008) to  
          advise DTSC, regarding science and technical matters for reducing  
          adverse health and environmental impacts of chemicals used in  
          commerce, encouraging the redesign of products, manufacturing  
          processes, and to assist in developing green chemistry and chemicals  
          policy recommendations and implementation strategies; and, advise  


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          DTSC on the adoption of regulations and priorities regarding  
          hazardous chemicals.  

       Ultimately, the work of DTSC, in conjunction with the Green Chemistry  
          Initiative and the Green Ribbon Science Panel, appears to have the  
          potential to make the changes envisioned by the current bill  
          irrelevant, or even misplaced.

          However, some are quick to argue that the results from the Green  
          Chemistry efforts regarding fire retardants and environmental safety  
          are still years away from showing fruitful results, and the  
          recommendations could replace one fire retardant with another that  
          may have as bad or worse of an impact on health concerns.

          An LA Weekly News article (December 9, 2010) captured the skeptical  
          view of critics of the Green Chemistry Initiative, indicating that  
          environmental activists "say the [green chemistry initiative] won't  
          remove toxic products from the shelves and will create 'paralysis by  
          analysis,' as industries can litigate against DTSC over unfavorable  
          department decisions.  Activists say California was poised to lead  
          the way on toxics regulation, but is now faced with potentially one  
          of the weakest chemical-regulatory mechanisms in the nation."

          The Author's staff counters that what AB 127 seeks to accomplish  
          would not fall under the DTSC's Green Chemistry Initiative for  
          several reasons:  First, Green Chemistry can only regulate products  
          that don't fall under the authority of another regulatory agency (SB  
          509, Simitian, 2008), and AB 127 addresses flammability standards  
          which falls under the authority of the SFM, and thermal insulation  
          regulation falls under the authority of the Bureau.  Second, the  
          bill addresses flammability standards, which is not what Green  
          Chemistry is about.  Green Chemistry regulation is chemical-product  
          driven, while AB 127 is designed to apply to the whole building  
          industry as it relates to fire safety.  These are conflicting  
          objectives.  Finally, DTSC's Green Chemistry has its own protocol  
          for identifying priority chemicals, and if AB 127 were instead  
          amended to specify that flame retardant chemicals should be  
          considered first, there are so many of them that it would still take  
          several years to address our human and environmental health  
          concerns, according to the Author's staff.

        7. Higher Levels of Flame Retardants.  The Author's office contends  
           that there are higher levels of flame retardants in Californians,  
           citing two articles in Scientific journals:  The Environmental  
           Science and Technology, states in a 2010 editorial "Are PBDEs an  
           environmental equity concern?  Exposure disparities by  


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           socioeconomic status"  

             "There has been a surge of new research highlighting the  
             potential health consequences of polybrominated diphenyl ethers  
             (PBDEs), brominated flame retardants which have been added to  
             consumer products since the 1970s to reduce flammability of  
             electronics and furniture.  Due to their persistent nature and  
             tendency to bioaccumulate, these compounds are ubiquitous and  
             have been detected inhuman tissues, marine mammals, house dust,  
             and virtually any biological or environmental media taken from  
             anywhere on the planet.

             "Exposure assessment studies have documented body burden levels  
             in various populations and investigated contributors of human  
             exposure.  These studies suggest that PBDE exposures are not  
             homogeneous across diverse groups.  For example, recent studies  
             have shown higher exposures among young children compared to  
             adults (1). This finding is consistent with exposure profiles of  
             other environmental contaminants, such as lead, where dust is an  
             important exposure media; indeed, children spend more time close  
             to the ground and engage in hand-to-mouth behavior which may  
             increase their dust intake.  There are also significant  
             geographic differences in PBDE exposures with much higher serum,  
             breast milk, and house dust levels reported in the U.S. compared  
             to Europe.  Within the U.S., PBDE congeners characteristic of  
             penta-BDE (e.g., BDE-47, -99, and -100) occur at higher  
             concentrations in house dust and blood samples collected from  
             Californians compared to other U.S. residents."

          A 2008 study reported in Environmental Science and Technology,  
          indicates that dust from California homes had 4-10 times higher  
          levels of PBDEs than other places in North America, and Californians  
          had on average twice the amount of PBDEs in their blood than other  

          Environmental Health Perspectives, reports a 2013 study titled "In  
          Utero and Childhood Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Exposures  
          and Neurodevelopment in the CHAMACOS Study" stating that "California  
          children's exposures to polybrominated diphenyl ether flame  
          retardants (PBDEs) are among the highest worldwide."  The study  
          further asserts that PBDEs are known endocrine disruptors and  
          neurotoxicants in animals.

       8.Health Effects Upon Firefighters.  The San Francisco Firefighters  
          Cancer Prevention Foundation (Foundation) was established in 2006  
          after the occurrence of Transitional Cell Carcinoma in three  


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          firefighters from a single San Francisco fire station.  The  
          Foundation is dedicated to the early detection and prevention of  
          cancer in both active and retired firefighters.  The Foundation has  
          also been involved in several studies.  The first study (published  
          in 2007) was conducted by the Department of Urology at the  
          University of California San Francisco and identified bladder cancer  
          rates in the San Francisco Fire Department greater than the  
          population in general, and of major concern for the entire  
          firefighting profession.  A second study is currently being  
          conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looking  
          at causes of death in firefighters from San Francisco, Chicago, and  

       A third peer reviewed study was published in Chemophere in 2012.  The  
          study looked at the levels of persistent organic pollutants  
          including polychlorinated and polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins and  
          dibenzofurans in the blood of 12 firefighters.  The firefighters  
          study showed levels of PBDEs over 30% higher than the general  
          population of California and over 60% higher than the general  
          population of the United States.

       Dr. Susan Shaw, the study's lead scientist, stated, "Our study provides  
          clear evidence that firefighters are exposed to high levels of  
          cancer-causing chemicals including brominated flame retardants and  
          their combustion by-products - dioxins and furans - that are formed  
          during fires by the burning of flame-retarded foam furniture,  
          televisions, computers and building materials.  Firefighters have  
          much higher levels and different patterns of these chemicals in  
          their blood than the general population.  There is no doubt that  
          firefighting is a dangerous occupation.  What we have shown here  
          points to the possible link between firefighting and cancer."

       According to Dr. Shaw, the findings underscore the need for stronger  
          regulations to protect not only firefighters but all Americans from  
          exposure to toxic, carcinogenic chemicals in everyday consumer  

       This bill specifies that the flammability standards shall "ensure that  
          there is adequate protection ... for occupants of the building and  
          any firefighters who may be in the building during a fire."
       9.Effects Upon Trade Groups.  Although there are no known studies  
            evaluating the effects of installing insulation upon those involved  
          in the construction, or home improvement trade, a study reported in  
          Environmental Science and Technology in 2008, of workers in the foam  
          recycling industry and carpet installers in the United States, found  


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          that an increased exposure to PBDEs may be expected to occur during  
          the recycling of polyurethane foam containing these chemicals.  The  
          study also found that total PBDE levels were significantly higher in  
          the individuals recycling foam and installing carpet relative to the  
          control group.  The data suggests that individuals recycling  
          foam-containing products, and/or using products manufactured from  
          recycled foam (i.e., carpet padding), have higher body burdens of  
          PBDEs and thus may be at higher risk from adverse health effects  
          associated with brominated flame retardant exposure.

       A second study reported by Environmental Science and Technology in  
          2007, which focused on electronics dismantling workers in South  
          China, found higher levels of chemical consecrations that for other  

       While not focused upon the installation of insulation products, these  
          studies serve to illustrate concern with working with products which  
          may contain harmful chemicals.

       10.Validity of Health Risks.  The American Chemistry Council (ACC), as  
          opponents of this measure counter the concerns about health effects  
          of flame retardants raised by proponents by arguing that the  
          presence of a chemical in the body does not necessarily imply that  
          it has a harmful effect.  The cite the US Centers for Disease  
          Control and Prevention as stating "Just because we can detect levels  
          of an environmental chemical in a person's blood or urine does not  
          necessarily mean that the chemical will cause effects or disease.   
          Advances in analytical chemistry enable us to measure low levels of  
          environmental chemicals in people, but separate studies of varying  
          levels of exposure determine whether specific levels cause health  

       ACC further contends that many of the cited studies which proponents  
          link to harmful effects of chemicals upon humans focus upon  
          chemicals that are no longer used in California.

          ACC further cites a May 2008 European "Summary Risk Assessment  
          Report" of "TRIS(2-Chloro-1-Methylethyl) Phosphate (TCPP), which  
          draw in its overall conclusions that "there is at present no need  
          for further information and/or testing and no need for risk  
          reduction measures beyond those which are being applied already."

       11.Prior Legislation.   AB 2182  (Lee, 1994) would have required the  
          Bureau to establish standards for loosefill (cellulose) insulation.   
          The bill sought to address flame retardant shortfalls in loosefill  
          cellulose insulation.  (  Status  :  This bill was vetoed by the  


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        SB 147  (Leno, 2011) would have required the Bureau, on or before March  
          1, 2013, to modify Technical Bulletin 117 regarding product  
          standards for fire retardant furniture to include a smolder  
          flammability test to provide an alternative method of compliance  
          that can be met without the use of chemical fire retardants and that  
          does not compromise fire safety.  The bill would have further  
          authorized the Bureau Chief to additionally exempt polyurethane foam  
          from the fire retardant requirements.  (  Status  :  This bill failed  
          passage in this Committee.)

        SB 1291  (Leno, 2010) would have required the Department of Toxic  
          Substances Control to include, as a chemical under consideration,  
          any chemical that is used, or is proposed to be used, as a flame  
          retardant, in accordance with the review process (Green Chemistry  
       under the current chemical of concern regulations.  (  Status  :  That bill  
          was placed on the inactive file on the Senate Floor and died on  

        SB 772  (Leno, 2009) would have exempted "juvenile products," as  
          defined, from the fire retardant requirements pursuant to federal  
          law and the regulations of the Bureau of Home Furnishings and  
          Thermal Insulation (Bureau), except that the Bureau could have, by  
          regulation modified this exemption if the Bureau determined that any  
          juvenile products posed a serious fire hazard.  (  Note  : the  
          provisions of this bill have been largely implemented through  
          regulation by the Bureau effective December 29, 2010.)  (  Status  :   
          This bill died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.)

        AB 706  (Leno, 2008) commencing July 1, 2010, would have required  
          bedding products to comply with certain requirements, including that  
          they not contain a chemical or component not in compliance with  
          alternatives assessment requirements as specified, and required the  
          DTSC to develop and adopt methodology for the coordination and  
          conduct of an alternative assessment to review the classes of  
          chemicals used to meet the fire retardancy standards set by the  
          Bureau, and to meet other requirements as specified.  (  Status  :  This  
          bill failed passage on the Senate Floor.)

        AB 2197 (Mitchell, 2012) would have revised the flammability standards  
          for seating furniture and instead require all seating furniture sold  
          or offered for sale to meet a smolder flammability test rather than  
          an open flame-test.  (  Status  :  This bill died without being heard in  
          the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee.)


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       12.Arguments in Support.  In sponsoring the bill, the  United States  
          Green Building Council California  (USGBC) states that the Bureau has  
          done a commendable job recently executing the updating of Technical  
          Bulletin 117 on furniture foam and arriving at a healthier standard  
          for upholstered furniture and indoor air quality.  USGBC believes AB  
          127 will help California also lead the way to efficient, green  
          building materials that are BOTH healthy for inhabitants, installers  
          and emergency responders AND part of a fire safe built environment.

       A number of proponents of this measure  Breast Cancer Action  ,  Breast  
          Cancer Fund  ,  Center for Environmental Health  ,  City of Albany City  
          Council  ,  City of El Cerrito  ,  Consumer Federation of California  ,  
           Development Center for Appropriate Technology (DCAT)  ,  Environment  
          California  ,  Hawley Peterson Snyder  ,  Episcopal diocese of California  ,  
          the  Commission for the Environment  ,  Lake/Flato Architects  , Natural  
          Resources Defense Council (NRDC)  , the  Northern California Chapter of  
          Architects/ Designers/ Planners for Social Responsibility ,  
           Physicians for Social Responsibility - Los Angeles  ,  Siegel & Strain  
          Architects  ,  Sierra Club California  , contend:  "Plastic foam  
          insulation is used in buildings to achieve energy efficiency goals.   
          Flame retardant chemicals are added to these materials in an attempt  
          to reduce fire risk.  Unfortunately, these same flame retardants can  
          escape from the insulation throughout its life cycle and end up in  
          our indoor and outdoor environments . . .Finally, there are no good  
          ways to dispose of insulation with these flame retardants without  
          further polluting our environment. Together these concerns are cause  
          for action."

       The  Association of Regional Center Agencies  (ARCA) believes this bill  
          will help reduce the presence of various flame retardant chemicals  
          in home insulation, stating, "While in most circumstances extant  
          thermal barrier requirements provide enough fire safety, these  
          chemicals are still required in foam-plastic insulation materials.   
          Those materials can and still do catch fire, and when they do, they  
          produce a variety of hazardous combustion products."

       The  Green Science Policy Institute  states, "AB 127 recognizes the  
          potential adverse health effects of chemical flame retardants used  
          in most foam plastic building insulations and calls for a code  
          revision to reduce their use. Once implemented, AB 127 can ensure  
          the fire-safety of buildings and support energy efficiency while  
          reducing the harm from flame retardants."

        Rebecca D. Kaplan, Council President Pro Tempore, City of Oakland  ,  
          states that this legislation would make building insulation safer  


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          and less toxic without reducing fire safety.  Reducing the use of  
          these toxic chemicals will enable us to avoid negative impacts to  
          public health and the environment. 

        San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility   
          (SFPSR) and the  Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition  write, "Here in  
          California, the ubiquitous presence of flame retardants in our  
          environments and in our bodies is well documented.  We have higher  
          levels of flame retardants in our bodies than anywhere else in the  
          United States, and much higher levels than in Europe.  The potential  
          for these chemicals to adversely affect our health, and especially  
          the health of our children, is cause for concern.  Additionally,  
          once the flame retardants do catch fire, they are toxic to breathe  
          in, which can cause harm to emergency responders."

       The  Trauma Foundation  writes, "Given the toxicity concerns surrounding  
          flame retardants, it is time for the code to be updated so that  
          flame retardant chemicals are not required when they add no fire  
          safety benefit."

       13.Arguments in Opposition.  A number of opponents including the  
           American Chemistry Council  ,  the California Chamber of Commerce  , the  
           California Manufacturers and Technology Association  , the  Center for  
          the Polyurethanes Industry  , the  Expanded Polyurethanes Industry  , the  
           Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association  , the  Chemical Industry Council  
          of California  , the  Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance , and the  Dow  
          Chemical Company  , among others have written a joint letter in  
          opposition to the bill.  

       The letter argues that as drafted, the bill:

               Fails to recognize existing state law governing chemicals used  
             in consumer products.  In 2008, the Legislature adopted  
             comprehensive laws to assess chemicals used in consumer products,  
             granting authority to DTSC to restrict or prohibit the use of  
             certain chemicals if deemed necessary.  DTSC is expected to  
             finalize the implementing regulations later this year.

               Does not take into consideration new chemical flame retardant  
             safety assessments being conducted by the federal Environmental  
             Protection Agency (EPA).  Earlier this year, the EPA announced  
             that it will conduct chemical risk assessments on "23 commonly  
             used chemicals, with specific focus on flame retardant chemicals,  
             in order to more fully understand potential risks to people's  
             health and the environment."  


                                                                         AB 127
                                                                         Page 14

               Lacks scientific rigor as it relates to the SFM analysis of  
             chemical retardants.  The bill requires the SFM to give "full  
             consideration" to human and ecological health impacts associated  
             with chemical flame retardants, however it does not define "full  
             consideration" nor does it provide any clarity or guidance  
             regarding any scientific assessments the SFM must conduct. 

               Could unintentionally impact the cost and availability of  
             energy efficient building insulation.  The use of insulation in  
             homes, offices and public buildings is an important component of  
             energy efficient construction.  Among the insulating materials  
             available, polystyrene foam boards, rigid polyurethane foam  
             panels, and spray polyurethane foam are accepted and standard in  
             the building and construction industry because these products  
             perform well and are cost-effective.  While spray foam insulation  
             and rigid foam panels allow builders to meet national and state  
             energy efficiency requirements, they must also conform to fire  
             safety standards.  Discouraging the use of certain high  
             performance energy saving material can dramatically affect the  
             state's profile as a leader in energy efficiency and seriously  
             impact overall construction costs and reliability in California  

       1.Proposed Author's Amendments.  The Author is proposing the following  
          amendments to be adopted in Committee:

           a)   Currently the bill requires the SFM and the Bureau to propose  
             the revised standards by January 1, 2013.  The Author will offer  
             amendments to delay that date six months.

           On page 4, line 17, strike out, "January" and insert:  July

           b)   The Author's office indicates that the May 29, 2013 amendments  
             which removed the Legislative intent language, struck out the  
             references to insulation materials.  The following Author's  
             amendment clarifies that the updated flammability standards are  
             "insulation flammability standards."

           On page 4, line 19, after "updated" insert:  insulation. 

       1.Suggested Author's Amendments.  The Committee may wish to consider  
          the following amendments to clarify the focus and effect of the  

           a)   Specify that the State Fire Marshall shall also consult with  


                                                                         AB 127
                                                                         Page 15

             the Department of Toxics and Substance Control in addition to  
             consulting with the Bureau.  

           On page 4, line 17, after "and Thermal Insulation," insert:  "and  
             the Department of Toxic Substances Control"

           b)   Clarify that the California Building and Standards Commission  
             is not required to take any specific action on the flammability  
             standards proposed by the SFM.

           On page 4, amend lines 18 through 20 as follows:   adoption   
              consideration  by the California Building Standards Commission  , at  
             the sole discretion of the Commission,  updated flammability  
             standards that accomplish both of the following:

         NOTE  :  Double-referral to Rules Committee second.


        United States Green Building Council California (Sponsor)
        Association of Regional Center Agencies
        Breast Cancer Action
        Breast Cancer Fund
        California Professional Firefighters
        Center for Environmental Health
        City of Albany City Council
        City of El Cerrito
        City of Oakland, Council President Pro Tempore
        Clean Water Action
        Coalition for Clean Air
        Consumer Federation of California
        Developmental Center for Appropriate Technology
        Environment California
        Episcopal Diocese of California, Commission on the Environment
        Fire Science and Technology, Inc.
        Green Science Policy Institute
        Hawley Peterson Snyder
        Lake/Flato Architects
        Natural Resources Defense Council
        Northern California Chapter of Architects/Designers/Planners for  
        Social Responsibility
        Physicians for Social Responsibility - Los Angeles


                                                                         AB 127
                                                                         Page 16

        Physicians for Social Responsibility, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
        San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation
        Siegel & Strain Architects
        Sierra Club California
        Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
        Trauma Foundation
        2 Individuals


        California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors
        5-Star Performance Insulation
        All Seasons Insulation, Inc.
        American Chemistry Council
        American Chemistry Council
        Arnett Enterprises
        BASF Corporation
        Bayer Material Science, LLC
        Best Contracting Services
        Burtin Polymer Laboratoires, Inc.
        California Chamber of Commerce
        California Conference of Carpenters
        California Manufacturers and Technology Association
        Center for the Polyurethanes Industry
        Central Coating Company, Inc.
        Chemical Industry Council of California
        CIServices, Inc.
        Clayton Corporation
        Cool Roof Systems
        Demilex USA LLC
        Diamond Liners, Inc.
        EIFS Industry Member Association
        Expanded Polystyrene Industry Alliance
        Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association
        Graco Incorporated
        Graco Western
        Henry Company
        Huntsman Corporation
        ICL Industrial Products America, Inc. 
        Industrial Environmental Association
        Insulate SB, Inc.
        Lapolla Industries, Inc.
        National Coatings Corporation
        NCFI Polyurethanes


                                                                         AB 127
                                                                         Page 17

        Owens Corning
        Pactiv Corporation
        Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association
        Premium Spray Products
        Quadrant Spray Foam Technologies
        Roofing Contractors Association of California
        SDI Insulation
        Spray Foam Coalition
        Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance
        Steve Easley & Associates
        SWD Urethane
        The Dow Chemical Company
        West Development Group
        Western Pacific Roofing Corp
        Western Pacific Roofing, Inc.
        Western Wall & Ceiling Contractors Association

        Consultant:G. V. Ayers