Flame Retardant Chemicals in Upholstered Seating Products

As you are probably aware, on January 1, 2014 California’s new regulation (Technical Bulletin 117-2013) went into effect. The new standard allows furniture manufacturers to meet TB 117-2013 without the use of flame retardant chemicals.

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and HDR Architecture have been receiving numerous calls from sustainability minded office furniture purchasers asking about the availability of products made without added flame retardant chemicals. Purchasers also wish to know how they will be able to identify upholstered seating products that contain no added flame retardant chemicals.

IMPORTANT: Definitions

  • Flame retardant chemicals: Any added/applied flame retardant chemicals including but not limited to: PBDEs, halogenated flame retardants (those containing bromine or chlorine), phosphorus based flame retardants, nano flame retardants, boric acid, etc.
  • Materials Covered: Components of the furniture that are covered by this definition including the filling materials, cover fabrics, decking material and barrier materials.

To assist these purchasers, the Center for Environmental Health and HDR Architecture are creating a purchaser guide to help companies choose safer seating products. We plan to release this guide in the coming months and make it available to our purchasers and the public. In order to ensure that consumers know about your products, we would like to have answers to the following questions by June 27, 2014. Thank you.

1. Does your company have upholstered seating products made without added flame retardant chemicals? Check one of the boxes below.

Yes, all of our upholstered seating products currently produced are made without added flame retardant chemicals.

Yes, some of our upholstered seating products currently produced are made without added flame retardant chemicals. (Please list all upholstered seating products currently produced that are made without added flame retardant chemicals. If only specific style and/or options of a product line do not contain flame retardants, please specify the style(s)/option(s) that meet this criterion.)

No, all of our upholstered seating products currently produced are still made with added flame retardant chemicals.

Please check all components to which flame retardant chemicals are added/applied:

☐Upholstery foam / resilient filling material                         ☐Barrier material

☐Upholstery fabric (standard fabric offerings)                      ☐Decking material

2. If some or all of your seating products still contain added flame retardant chemicals, please indicate any timeline for eliminating flame retardant chemicals from these products.
3. If some or all of your seating products are still made with added flame retardant chemicals, have you identified any of the following barriers to removing flame retardants?

☐ Foam supplier has not made flame retardant-free foam available

☐ Fabric, barrier or decking material supplier has not made flame retardant-free options available

☐ Liability concerns

☐ Concerns re: regulatory requirements in other markets or client purchasing requirements

☐ Have not approached the subject with supply chain

☐ Not familiar with regulation change or do not understand how to comply

☐ Other (please describe):

5. How will you let purchasers know that your furniture products do not contain added flame retardant chemicals? (Check all that apply)

☐ Products will be labeled (e.g. “flame retardant free”)

☐ Our website will list products that do not contain flame retardant chemicals. Please include the URL where “flame retardant-free” is noted:_________________________________________________________________________________________

☐ Marketing collateral will state “flame retardant free”

☐ Purchasers can email or call our Customer Service staff for information

☐ Other (please specify):

6. For which of your products do you also have a Health Product Declaration (HPD) available?

☐Please list all HPDs currently available:

☐If no HPDs are currently available, will you have any available by December 31, 2014?

7. For our general knowledge, we would like to understand what components of seating products made to comply with Technical Bulletin 133 have flame retardants added or applied. Please check the components below that have flame retardants commonly (>50% of time) added or applied:

☐Upholstery Foam/Resilient filling material                         ☐Barrier material                        ☐Decking material

☐Upholstery fabric (standard fabric offerings)                      ☐Other, please identify:

8. FOR COMPANIES THAT SUPPLY HEALTH CARE: Which flame retardant-free products also comply with the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) – Healthy Interiors Challenge?  The HHI challenge also requires the elimination of the intentional use of formaldehyde, perfluorinated compounds and PVC (also known as vinyl). Please list all. For further information about Healthy Interiors Challenge, please see: http://bit.ly/1oLVDGY

 

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