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Use Of Flame Retardants In Furniture Declines

by Britt E. Erickson
December 7, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 48

Credit: Shutterstock
Flame retardants are being phased out of upholstered furniture.
A photo of a sofa.
Credit: Shutterstock
Flame retardants are being phased out of upholstered furniture.

Many U.S. furniture, mattress, and carpet padding manufacturers have removed toxic flame retardants from their products and provided consumers with clear information about their efforts. But other companies have lagged behind in ensuring that foam-padded products are free of hazardous chemicals, says a report by a coalition of environmental groups. The groups—Clean & Healthy New York, Clean Water Action, and Conservation Minnesota—based their conclusions on a survey of 11 sofa manufacturers, 11 mattress makers, and five carpet padding producers. Ten of the sofa makers, four of the mattress manufacturers, and two of the carpet padding companies claimed they do not use flame retardants in their products. “The vast majority of upholstered furniture companies are phasing out the use of added flame retardants,” says Kathleen Schuler, a program director at Conservation Minnesota. However, many mattress companies do not actively seek foam that is free of flame retardants, or they add flame-retardant chemicals to other parts of mattresses, she says.


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