Facebook, Autodesk Dump Furniture Made With Flame Retardants
December 18, 2014 | 2:03 pm CST
Furniture Groups Oppose Fire Retardant Label Bill: Goes Too Far

CHICAGO --  More companies are pledging not to purchase upholstered furniture made with flame retardant chemicals, thought to link to cancer and other health concerns.

Facebook, Dignity Health and Autodesk announced support of a pledge to seek furniture that does not contain the fire retardant chemicals, according to Environmantalleader.com.

Other companies that signed the pledge, which was organized by the Center for Environmental Health, include HDR Architecture, Blue Cross/ Blue Shield of Massachusetts, San Francisco Department of the Environment, Advocate Health Care, Beaumont Health System, Kaiser Permanente, Hackensack University Medical Center and University Hospitals.

Facebook, Autodesk Dump Furniture Made With Flame RetardantsThe pledge is a reaction to a new flammability standard enacted in California which requires manufacturers of upholstered furniture to add a statement at the bottom of the Technical Bulletin 117-2013 flammability label indicating whether or not the product contains added flame retardant chemicals.

The legislation, enacted in September, dictates the following statements be included on the label:

"The Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation found that flame retardant chemicals in furniture do not provide a meaningful fire safety benefit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), such flame retardant chemicals can migrate into air and house dust where people can be exposed to them." 

In addition, upholstered furniture manufacturers would  be required to provide point-of-sale signage with this statement for each product shipped to California retailers and the stores would be required to display the sign in a conspicuous place,  "next to the price or description of the covered product."

Commonly used flame retardant chemicals can pose a threat to human health and the environment according to researchers. Depending on the flame retardant, effects include reproductive, neurocognitive, and immune system impacts, among others.

Earlier this month California officials denied a request by the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) to extend a deadline for upholstery manufacturers to comply with the new labeling requirement for upholstered furniture.

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