Flame retardant chemicals have been associated with a variety of human health issues, from hormone disruption and reduced fertility, to 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.
- Avoid polyurethane foam-filled products.
- 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.
The California furniture flammability standard will change on January 1, 2014. Below we have included ways you can learn more about your furniture and guidelines for buying flame retardant free furniture after the new standard takes affect.
After the Standard Changes:
- 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
As of January 2014, children’s products will be exempt from flammability standards in California. New products are unlikely to contain added flame retardants. Learn more about flame retardants in children’s products
When shopping for children’s products:
- Avoid products with a TB117 label
- Ask the retailer if the product contains flame retardants
- Consider buying organic
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.
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.
All plastic foam insulations contain flame retardant chemicals of concern.
Learn more by visiting our page on flame retardants in building products.
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”
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