Consumer Resources


FEATURED: Click here for our buyers’ guide to furniture without flame retardants.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

CBS ConsumerWatch: Health expert warns of toxic chemicals in baby products

Introduction

Flame retardant chemicals have been associated with a variety of human health issues, including hormone disruption, reduced fertility, and cancer. It is prudent to reduce our contact with such chemicals as much as we can.

This page contains information on what you can do at home and when you shop to reduce exposure to flame retardant chemicals, as well as policy changes that you can advocate for.

Be sure to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter to stay up to date on the latest news and opportunities to take action.

Quick Tips

  • Avoid foam-filled products with a TB117 label.
  • Make sure to wash your hands frequently, and always before eating.
  • Keep dust levels down by damp dusting and wet mopping.
  • Vacuum regularly with a HEPA filter
  • Open windows to improve indoor air quality.

Furniture

The California furniture flammability standard changed on January 1, 2014, with mandatory compliance by January 1, 2015. Below we have included more information about flame retardants and furniture, including guidelines for buying flame retardant-free furniture.

Furniture Facts:

doesitcontainFRs

Buyers’ Guide:

FR free furniture

Shopping Tips:

  • Avoid products with a TB117 label
  • Look for products with a TB117-2013 label
  • Verify with the manufacturer that the product does not contain flame retardants

Children’s Products

As of January 2014, most children’s products are exempt from flammability standards in California. Soon, new products will likely be free of added flame retardants, but it is always important to verify before buying.

childrensproducts

When shopping for children’s products:

  • Avoid products with a TB117 label
  • Ask the retailer if the product contains flame retardants
  • Consider buying organic

Mattresses

Adult mattresses

According to the mattress industry, flame retardants are not used in foam in adult mattresses in the U.S. The federal mattress standard, called 16 CFR 1633, requires that the finished mattress meet a very severe and lengthy open flame ignition test. To meet this requirement, barrier materials such as fire-resistant fiber batting or boric acid treated cotton fiber are wrapped around the mattress foam.

Crib/Infant Mattresses

Baby mattresses with a TB117 label are likely to contain flame retardant chemicals and should be avoided. Mattresses produced after January 1, 2014 will not have such a label and are unlikely to contain the chemicals, but it is prudent to verify with the retailer to make sure. A report on crib/ infant mattresses from Clean & Healthy New York provides information on some manufacturers.

Building Products

All plastic foam insulations contain flame retardant chemicals of concern.

Learn more by visiting our page on flame retardants in building products.

Take Action

Urge the Consumer Product Safety Commission to move forward with their draft furniture flammability standard which will provide fire safety without the addition of toxic chemicals to products.

  • Sign our petition to the CPSC to Take the Toxic Chemicals out of my Couch. We ask the CPSC to hurry up and enact their draft standard.
  • Write to the CPSC – See below for Sample Comment:

    Sample Comment to CPSC

    “Dear Acting Chairman Adler: CPSC should immediately move forward with a furniture flammability standard to address smoldering ignitions following their 2008 draft standard or the new California standard TB117-2013.A smolder standard would reduce harmful and ineffective flame retardant chemicals in the nation’s furniture and prevent harm to our population’s health and environment. It would improve furniture safety now by helping to prevent the majority of furniture fires and deaths caused by smoldering cigarettes”

Support Green Science Policy Institute

  • Please sign up to receive our monthly e-newsletters about chemicals of concern, science, policy and protecting health.

  • Please donate so that we can continue to stop toxics and protect the health of our children, wildlife, and the planet.

Learn More

Green Science Policy Institute provides information to the public as a service. The content of our website, publications, and correspondence should not be considered advice or endorsement and is for informational purposes only. As a scientific institute, we strive for accuracy; however, occasional errors are unavoidable. Green Science Policy Institute is not responsible for decisions made based on information we provide.

Press: Consumer Resources

Chemicals in your popcorn?

What do a pizza box, a polar bear and you have in common? All carry a kind of industrial toxicant called poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFA…

04 Jun 2015

Read more

Quest to eliminate chemical flame retardants from Californian homes …

A California regulation effectively eliminated the need for chemical flame retardants in furniture in November 2013. Two years later, though, experts s…

15 May 2015

Read more

New York Times and Retro Report: A Flame Retardant That Came With It…

This New York Times article, featuring a video by Retro Report, concisely recounts the flame retardant saga. If you closely examine your living room cou…

03 May 2015

Read more

Commonly Used Chemicals Come Under New Scrutiny

A top federal health official and hundreds of environmental scientists on Friday voiced new health concerns about a common class of chemic…

01 May 2015

Read more

Scientists call for limits on emerging class of common, long-lived c…

More than 200 scientists from 38 countries spoke with one voice today, calling for curbs on the global production and use of a class of chemicals found in …

01 May 2015

Read more

Scientists Issue Warning Over Chemicals Common In Carpets, Coats, Co…

In 1961, a DuPont toxicologist warned colleagues that exposure to their company's increasingly popular Teflon chemicals enlarged the livers of rats and …

01 May 2015

Read more

Michigan Public Radio Environment Report: Furniture Makers Getting R…

This week, we’re bringing you a series of stories about firefighters and cancer. Firefighters say they’re worried about getting exposed to certain ki…

09 Apr 2015

Read more

Chicago Tribune: Furniture firms shun flame retardants but some toxi…

New safety regulations allow upholstered furniture to be made without flame retardants, but consumers may find it difficult to tell whether a retail…

23 Jan 2015

Read more

The Sacramento Bee: Concern grows in firefighters, others after canc…

A growing body of evidence found an array of flame-retardant chemicals – many which are carcinogenic – in test participants, a potential health concern f…

30 Nov 2014

Read more

Counsel & Heal: Researchers Identified Flame Retardant, TCEP in Amer…

Americans are contaminated with many toxic flame retardants, a new study reported. According to the researchers at the Silent Spring Institute and the Uni…

12 Nov 2014

Read more

Huffington Post: Would you like flame retardants with that couch?

Most of Aimee Robinson's customers are moms. And more of them are starting to ask questions about the contents of the couches and chairs she constructs.…

21 Jul 2014

Read more

Houston Chronicle: Chem-free beds are doctor's orders

Article includes this section on the Safer Sofa Foam Exchange: The demand for cleaner furnishings across the country is leading to some other unconven…

04 Jul 2014

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
«
»

Science & Policy Blog: Consumer Resources

Giants of industry move toward healthier products

It started in 2012 when Johnson & Johnson pledged to eliminate phthalates, triclosan, formaldehyde and parabens from its product line which includes Aveeno, Neutrogen…

Read more

California's proposed furniture standard: What you need to know

Proposed regulation is a win-win-win for fire safety, health and environment Usually people aren't eagerly awaiting the arrival of new furniture flammability stand…

Read more

Flame Retardants in Car Seats—Do We Need Them?

Car seats are essential to protecting children in cars. Due to a federal motor vehicle flammability standard, many materials in automobiles, including car seats, contain …

Read more

Pop Stop: Denmark retailer stops sale of microwave popcorn amid heal…

Some love it, some hate it: that overwhelming buttery, salty smell that fills the house every time you throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave. However, larger concerns h…

Read more

My foam exchange story: How I saved big bucks without passing the bu…

I bought my sofa in California, “home” of the TB117 standard. I know 75-94% of sofas tested contain flame retardants. And clear as day, sewn onto my couch was a TB117 lab…

Read more

Trading Health for Small Conveniences?

“Stain-resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal” is how journalist Callie Lyons describes a highly fluorinated chemical called C8. When C8 was released into the air a…

Read more

What’s in your house dust? Study Participants Wanted

Do you live in Northern California? Are you planning to buy a new couch or swap out your old foam cushions for new, flame retardant-free furnishings within the next ye…

Read more

Phthoughts on phthalates: odd spelling, clear problem

Have you ever heard of phthalates or DEHP? I hadn’t either, until I read a recent US study that monitored nearly 800 pregnant women and found that exposure to a common ho…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
«
»

Presentations: Consumer Resources

From the Flame Retardant Dilemma to Toxic Hot Seat

Speaker: Kirby Walker, Director and Producer of Toxic Hot Seat Event Flame Retardant Dilemma Symposium Date & Time F…

Read more

Six classes webinar 8: Green chemistry

Speaker: Bob Peoples, Ph.D. Former Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute Event Six Classes Webinar Series Date & T…

Read more

Progress on safer consumer product regulations & green chemistry

Speaker: Debbie Raphael, Director, California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control Event Flame Retardant Dilemma Symposium 2012:…

Read more

Halogenated flame retardants: A global concern

Arlene Blum, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar, Dept. of Chemistry, UC Berkeley Event Flame Retardant Dilemma Symposium 2012: Do flame …

Read more

Six classes webinar 1: Fluorinated chemicals

Speaker: Jennifer Field, Ph.D. Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, Oregon State University Event Six Classes Webinar Ser…

Read more

California’s Safer Consumer Product Program: Opportunities to affect…

Speaker: Debbie Raphael, Director, California Department of Toxic Substances Control Event Flame Retardant Dilemma Symposium …

Read more

Six classes webinar 3: Flame retardants

Speaker: Arlene Blum, Ph.D. Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute Visiting Scholar in Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley [toggle header="More …

Read more

Flame Retardant Science and the Furniture Industry – A Success Story

Speaker: David Panning, MS, MBA, Business & Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association Event Flame Retardant Dilemma S…

Read more

Considerations for Development of Effective Flammability Standards

Speaker: Bob Luedeka Executive Director, Polyurethane Foam Association (PFA) Event Green Science Policy Workshop: Life after…

Read more

The Flame Retardant Dilemma Series as an Example of Science-Driven P…

Speaker: Claudia Polsky, JD, Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice Event Flame Retardant Dilemma Symposiu…

Read more

Responsible disposal of flame retarded furniture foam

Speaker: Stephen Naylor, PhD, Science and Policy Associate, Green Science Policy Institute Event Flame Retardant Dilemma Symp…

Read more

Six classes webinar 4: Endocrine disrupting plasticizers

Speaker: Carol Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc. Event Six Classes Webinar Series Date & Ti…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3