The saying "What goes California, goes the rest of the Country" definitely applied to the furniture industry and was the main driving force that pushed the industry to include toxic flame retardants in all manufactured upholstered furniture sold across the U.S.
Beginning January 1, 2014, California changed its flammability requirements. Theoretically, this allows upholstery to be sold in California that does not have flame retardant chemicals added. The new focus will be on testing smoldering sources of flammability in cover fabrics, barrier materials and the covers under the cushions and on top of the base springs.
Furniture Today, an industry newspaper, published a robust article by Cindy W, Hodnett entitled, “Industry Reacts to New California Flammability Standards.” Several people in the furniture space are quoted—including Roy Calcagne, President of the upholstery source, Craft-master Furniture. Calcagne said, "We will comply with the new requirements as mandated by law. I think the fewer chemicals, the better."
Unsurprisingly, there has been substantial push back against the new standards from the American Chemical Council’s North American Flame Retardant Alliance. They put out a statement opposing the revisions stating, “Families in California should have serious concerns that state officials are lowering the fire standards and removing an important layer of fire protection that has benefitted Californians for more than 35 years.”
In direct opposition to their opinion is Dr. Arlene Blum, a major figure in the new documentary “Toxic Hot Seat” (reviewed on our site). The woman who got deadly chemicals out of children’s sleepwear, Blum emphasized, “It astounds me that the chemical companies are still claiming there is no health benefit to removing these chemicals.”
As expected, many customers still want these toxic chemical in their furniture, and many manufactures are willing to meet these customer demands. A prudent consumer needs to be educated and proactive about learning if their furniture purchase contains chemical laden flame resistant foam or fabrics.
We started EcoSelect furniture with the belief that choices on materials, process and products—that reduce the footprint and impact on our environment—don’t have to be expensive. They are competitive while using the finest materials and classic construction methods that have proven durability and comfort.
Most importantly, is meeting our mission of offering an alternative to furniture that exposes families to toxins.