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ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP)Sen. Charles Schumer is proposing legislation to ban 10 flame retardants from upholstered furniture and children’s products, saying the chemicals have been linked to developmental delays and cancer.

The New York Democrat says studies have also shown that the 10 most toxic retardants in the padding of furniture and children’s products such as crib mattresses and changing table pads are not effective in reducing fire risks.

Schumer said years ago the chemicals were added to products with the belief they were helpful.

“We’ve learned over the years that these flame retardants do not reduce fire risks, so their presence in everyday materials is ineffective and highly dangerous,” Schumer told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Jim Smith, on Sunday.

Dr. Phil Landrigan, director of Mount Sinai Hospital’s Children’s Environmental Health Center, agreed that the flame retardants can be dangerous to kids.

“They cause brain damage,” he told Smith. “They disrupt endocrine function. Some of them can increase the risk of obesity.”

A study by the Environmental Working Group and Duke University published in August found children at particular risk from closer contact with the products and dust particles that contain the toxins.

Researchers found that children’s exposure to a fire-retardant chemical and recognized carcinogen was five times higher than it was in their mothers.

“As shocking as this may sound, these products are full of carcinogens, toxic chemicals that can hurt our kids when they wear them or play them,” Schumer said.

The bill would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban the 10 and review all other chemical flame retardants.

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