TCG Client Vinocur Settles Flame Retardants in IKEA Changing Pads Case

Posted: 10/22/2013  browse the blog archive
TCG Client Vinocur Settles Flame Retardants in IKEA Changing Pads Case

Laurence Vinocur, a client of The Chanler Group, and IKEA Holding US, Inc. and IKEA North America Services, LLC, reached a settlement this month, resolving Vinocur’s allegations that IKEA violated Proposition 65 by offering changing pads containing the flame retardant chemical (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (“TDCPP”) for sale in California without first providing the required health hazard warnings.  The changing pads are designed for use with infants.

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) has designated TDCPP as a chemical known to cause cancer for purposes of Proposition 65.

As part of the settlement, IKEA will pay three civil penalties; the initial civil penalty totals $22,000, 75% of which will be paid to OEHHA, with the remaining 25% to be paid to whistleblower Vinocur.  IKEA also agreed to reformulate all changing pads that it offers for sale in California to contain no more than .0025% of TDCPP and other flame retardant chemicals TDBPP and TCEP.  On November 1, 2013, IKEA will pay a second civil penalty of $24,000.  However, if IKEA accelerates its reformulation schedule to achieve the .0025% TDCPP standard by September 30, 2013, Vinocur will waive the $24,000 second civil penalty in its entirety.  IKEA is responsible for paying a final civil penalty of $14,000 by February 1, 2014.  Yet should IKEA achieve a nationwide reformulation of its products by November 1, 2013, Vinocur will waive the final civil penalty of $14,000 in its entirety. This settlement structure provides an incentive to IKEA to promptly and completely reformulate its products to virtually eliminate TDCPP, or pay a much more substantial penalty.

IKEA is an international corporation that offers a variety of home and business furnishings for sale in 298 stores in 26 countries.  IKEA currently employs 139,000 staff around the globe. 

 The Chanler Group represents citizen enforcers who, acting in the public interest, commence actions against businesses offering products for sale in California that contain chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm without first providing the health hazard warning required by Proposition 65.  Citizen enforcers bringing Proposition 65 actions in the public interest may obtain a Court Judgment imposing civil penalties, an injunction requiring reformulation of products, and/or provision of health hazard warnings.  The Chanler Group has represented citizen enforcers of Proposition 65 for more than twenty years.