Fortunately things are starting to change due to increasing public awareness about the hazards of flame retardants. In January of 2014 companies will no longer be required to add flame retardants to their foam couches, chairs and other furnishings. However, they are not required to stop using them and those companies transitioning away from flame retardants will be allowed to sell existing stock. This leaves the average consumer in a bind. How do you find products without flame retardants?
A pending California law will make finding flame retardant free upholstered furniture easier. If signed by Governor Brown, the law would require new furniture to have a TB117 2013 tag that contains two check boxes, one for 'contains flame retardants' and one for 'does not contain flame retardants. This labeling does not apply to all the other products found to contain flame retardants such as car seats, strollers, pillows and other furnishings.
For these products, you will need to look for the tag that states this product meets California flammability standards. If the tag contains TB117 2013 (as opposed to just TB117) this means the product might not contain flame retardants and may be meeting the new California flammability standard through product design. But you will need to contact the product manufacturer to verify how they are meeting the new flammability standard and ask if they are using flame retardants.
If you find this situation as frustrating as I do, help ensure important policies like the Toxic Free Kids’ Act passes next year by talking to your candidates at upcoming forums and other events. Pledge now to ask your candidates a question about toxic chemicals.
Below are additional resources to make it easy: