California regulators ruin sofa shopping in Massachusetts

Having spent a childhood with Spaghetti-O’s in the pantry closet and Velveeta in the fridge I tend not to worry too much about industrial chemicals in my life. The same cannot be said for the distaff side of our household. Thus a trip to Crate & Barrel to find a sleeper sofa turned into an education regarding flame retardants. It seems that the wise politicians and regulators in California back in 1975 essentially forced furniture buyers nationwide to bring toxic, yet ineffective, flame retardants into their households. Now, 40 years later, the wise politicians and regulators are forcing furniture manufacturers to go in the opposite direction. See this NRDC page for a summary history.

How does this affect a Massachusetts shopper? Just try asking a retail clerk if a particular sofa was made with particular chemicals…

[And separately, maybe this explains Americans’ lackluster performance in school and stagnant wages. The NRDC page says “Americans carry much higher levels of these chemicals in their bodies than anyone else in the world” and “Children exposed in the womb have lower IQs and attention problems.”]

Finally… the government seems to want me to go back to my Velveeta-eating roots. The FDA has banned French cheese, such as Roquefort, made according to 1000-year-old recipes (CNN).

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

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