The latest California flame retardant standard allows furniture manufacturers to make safer products without adding toxic chemicals to their foam or upholstery. This is especially useful for children. They are the ones most at risk from the effects of fire.
Some of the major furniture companies that have stepped up to the plate are Ikea, Ashley, and Pottery Barn. These companies have made it easy for consumers to buy their wares with no toxic flame retardants. For example, Ikea is one of the few manufacturers that makes couches that are completely flame retardant free.
Aside from the new California flammability standards, there are some other ways to find furniture with no harmful additives. One is to buy from a supplier in the UK. If you do not live in the states, you should check retailers’ websites to see if they sell any. It is also possible to ask store staff about the product. Ask for information on the flame retardant content of the product.
There are also several companies that have signed up to the CEH Purchaser’s Pledge. These companies have made it their mission to purchase furniture that is free of harmful chemicals. You can find the list of companies on the Center for Environmental Health’s website.
As of January 1, 2015, a new California flame retardant standard went into effect. Furniture with polyurethane foam is no longer required to have toxic flame retardants. However, it will still be flammable for about five or six years. This is because the open flame test is not applicable to this type of furniture. Instead, a more realistic scenario is reflected by the smolder test.
Another thing you can do to be safer when purchasing furniture is to purchase from a manufacturer that uses sustainably sourced solid wood. Buying from a company that sources its lumber from sustainable forests will help reduce emissions of formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen. And if you are worried about the chemical content of the fabric, the Environmental Working Group recommends that you look for a material that does not use stain-guard.
If you’re still unsure about what to look for, the Center for Environmental Health has put out a few guides. This includes a list of the top 10 furniture companies that have taken the initiative to provide chemical-free furniture.
You can also find a number of other articles on the topic on the Green Science Policy Institute website. Many of these articles are about the science of flame retardants and what to do about them. In addition to the articles, the organization provides environmental testing services for the home.
Finally, if you’re still not sure what to look for, the NRDC has released a guide on how to find the best furniture to buy. Their top tip is to ask the store staff about the furniture’s flame retardant content. That is the most important thing to remember.
Choosing furniture without toxic flame retardants is the first step towards a healthier, more durable and recyclable future. The new California flame retardant standard is a major step forward, and the growing number of states that have taken action to ban or restrict the use of these chemicals is an indication that the market is changing.