Monday, June 26, 2017

The Fight for Safe Furniture is Not Over

Chemical-flame retardants can be added into several materials
during the manufacturing process, from the cushions to the many
layers of fabrics required in the upholstery process.
When California instituted their non-flame retardant regulations, the general public thought that their worries about chemicals in furniture was over.

Not exactly, as stated by the Green Science Policy:

“In 2008, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission proposed a smolder test for fabric similar to TB-117-2013 called 16 CFR Part 1634 that would not lead to the use of flame retardant chemicals. There is no timeline for possible implementation of this standard.”

Just like a host of other items in American households that are the source of toxins, furniture can harbor a host of chemicals that are harmful to children, adults, and pets.

There has been a disconnect as a result of manufacturers, department stores, and outlets mixing safety issues and merchandising messages in order to jump on to the environmental wave.

More consumers are increasingly aware of the over-saturation of chemicals in our daily lives. The story about laminate flooring imported from China did get visibility. It focused on the presence of formaldehyde in the product.

However, not as well-known is that furniture made with pressed-wood (also known as particle board or fiber board) has formaldehyde in the adhesives that are used. This same cancer-causing chemical is also used as a finish for some permanent-press fabrics.

Ironically, there are numerous lists on the internet of companies that have eliminated toxic flame retardants from their products but may have other components that are not safe.

The manufacture and retailing of furniture is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Unfortunately, when it comes to money, not everyone is going to be forthcoming about how and from where they source their materials. Actually, by the time a product gets to a large outlet, the chances are very good that the sales help doesn’t have any knowledge about these issues.

Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, has been instrumental in pushing for new environmental stands across the board. He has already stated that he will lead his state in an effort to meet the Paris Climate Agreement’s goals, regardless of what the federal government does.

On flame retardants he said: Toxic flame retardants are found in every
thing from high chairs to couches and a growing body of evidence suggests that these chemicals harm human health and the environment. We must find better ways to meet fire safety standards by reducing and eliminating—wherever possible— dangerous chemicals.”

At EcoSelect Furniture, we never had them in the first place!

It is important to remain vigilant about all aspects of the elements used in furniture, whether made in America or overseas.

We will continue to do so.