CEH Action

Consumer Product Testing:

CEH Testing Nap Mats280px

Consumers have no way to know which furniture or children’s products do or do not contain flame retardant chemicals. To help expose the unnecessary use of toxic flame retardant chemicals in our products, CEH identifies products that are likely (1) to contain flame retardants and (2) to be used by children and families. Then we buy a broad range of products in those categories and test them for the detection of flame retardant chemicals. We’ve tested products like furniture, nursing pillow, pre-school nap mats and changing pads.

When possible, we also go to court to get harmful products off the market and to make sure that consumers are warned about potential toxic exposures. In 2012 CEH initiated legal action against 62 companies selling baby products or furniture containing a cancer-causing flame retardant chemical. In February 2013, we released our report on flame retardants in children’s nap mats (as used in day care settings). Later in 2013, we reached the first-ever legal settlement to end the use of flame retardant chemicals in nap mats with a national daycare supplier.

In November 2013, CEH partnered with organizations in13 states and in Canada, releasing our report on flame retardants in child-sized furniture; many branded with beloved characters from Disney, Marvel Comics, Sesame Street and Nickelodeon.

Collaborating with Businesses to Create Non-Toxic Furniture  

LucyNapMat 280px

The new furniture flammability standard is a major victory for people’s health. Fire-safe furniture without the use of harmful flame retardants is a reality for the first time in forty years. But the standard does not ban harmful flame retardant chemicals. That’s why CEH has organized a think tank of six forward-thinking organizations to identify and implement strategies that will build a lucrative market for furniture free of harmful flame-retardant chemicals.

Our partners here include Staples, HDR Architecture, Construction Specialties, Multnomah County (Oregon) and others. With their help, we’re reaching out to a large number of businesses that buy huge volumes of furniture and providing them with tools so they can let manufacturers know that they prefer products without harmful flame-retardant chemicals.”

Improving Laws and Regulations in California:

CEH is the leader of “Californians for Toxic-Free Fire Safety,” a coalition made up of fourteen health and environmental organizations and committed to changing California’s outdated and ineffective flame-retardant standard. For the past several years, CEH, along with its allies, has been working with regulators, legislators, and consumers to demand fire safety without toxic, flame-retardant chemicals.

Our work is paying off. But after nearly four decades, a new flammability standard will finally be implemented on January 1, 2014. Makers of furniture and baby products will be able to meet the new, more realistic, flammability standard (known as TB 117-2013) without toxic flame retardant chemicals.  And because California’s standard is the de facto national requirement, this will protect children and families nationwide.

What’s next for this far-reaching work? Along with our coalition partners, CEH will keep a watchful eye in Sacramento to make sure the chemical industry does not derail this victory with frivolous lawsuits, misinformation, and other dirty tricks.

Improving Laws and Regulations in DC: Although the US Consumer Production Safety Commission (CPSC) has never implemented a national furniture flammability standard it recently began to pursue a flammability standard that would conflict with California’s new standard, re-opening the door to flame retardant chemicals just as California prepares to allow non-toxic furniture onto the market.

Along with our partners in the National Alliance for Toxic-Free Fire Safety, CEH has been working to ensure that the federal government doesn’t stand in the way of safer furniture for families everywhere. So far, we’re succeeding, but we’re monitoring developments in DC, and we’re ready to go to the mat to get toxic chemicals out of your family’s furniture.

Learn about more ways to protect your family: