Another Trump Nominee with Close Ties to Industry
By Ansje Miller
The day after the Consumer Product Safety Commission made a historic move to restrict on an entire class of toxic flame retardant chemicals, Trump nominated a Commissioner who threatens to roll back that landmark decision. Dana Baiocco has built her legal career on defending companies from consumer action and keeping dangerous products on the market. She could tip the balance of the entire commission and potentially overturn the recent victory on dangerous flame retardants.
The CPSC works to protect consumers from all kinds of hazards in products by conducting research, setting federal regulations, and developing safety standards. The CPSC is an essential government organization responsible for keeping families safe and making sure toxic or dangerous products are not allowed in the US. Dana Biaocco’s nomination to serve on the CPSC raises red flags as she is closely linked to many corporations that have been the target of past CPSC investigations.
Biaocco has repeatedly defended companies in cases related to consumer safety, including a case related to recalling Mattel toys that were treated with lead-based paint. Among other cases Biaocco has been involved with were various lawsuits against the cigarette company RJ Reynolds. Biacco’s statement that she does not believe she will have a conflict of interest since the CPSC doesn’t regulate tobacco, is worrisome and underscores how she is not fit for the role. Dangerous flame retardants ended up in our homes because cigarette companies like RJ Reynolds lobbied heavily against the real solution to house fires: fire-safe cigarettes. These corporations instead convinced regulators to require dousing our couches in dangerous chemicals —which don’t provide meaningful protection from fires.
If Biaocco is confirmed, she could influence whether or not the CPSC would follow through on banning the hazardous class of flame retardants called organohalogens. These flame retardants leak out of furniture and end up in the dust for us to ingest through the air or onto our hands and into our mouths. Flame retardants have been linked to many serious health problems including cancer, reduced IQ, developmental delays, obesity, and reproductive difficulties.
Because of these safety concerns, the Center for Environmental Health has worked hard to get flame retardants out of homes and offices. CEH has been able to enlist many large purchasers like Kaiser Permanente, Genentech, City of San Francisco and Facebook to pledge to remove furniture with flame retardants from their offices. The work CEH has done to reduce the unnecessary use of flame retardant chemicals has helped lead the way for meaningful changes like the recent CPSC decision. As a result of advocacy from many different groups, the CPSC issued a strong warning against the use of added halogenated flame retardant chemicals in children’s products, mattresses, electronic products, and furniture.
It is important that the CPSC continue to fight for the consumers they promise to protect. The CPSC can’t do that if they have members who have worked to defend the very same companies that the CPSC might go after. Biaocco is another of Trump’s picks that allows corporate interests into the government organizations we trust to keep us safe. Call your senator today and tell them that Dana Biaocco is not an appropriate choice for the Consumer Product Safety Commission.