USA: Furniture That Is Fire Retardant Free

Almost all furniture in the West would seem to contain fire retardants. It difficult to understand the regulations/legislation on fire retardants in furniture because it is very complicated and they vary across the USA. However, California sets the standard (the wrong standard, some would say) and their legislation encourages the use of fire retardants across America because California is a very big market (11th largest GPD in the world) and manufacturers don’t want to create a range of furniture that complies with a particular place. It is financial unviable to do so. Therefore what California demands regarding fire retardants in furniture, the rest of the USA gets as well. The UK is no better, incidentally.

Fire retardant free furniture

Fire retardant free furniture

Note: California has decided to amend the law on fire retardants by removing the requirement to inject these chemicals into furniture and replacing the law with a flammability test that can be met without dangerous chemicals (law: TB 117-2013). I believe the new regulations take effect this year – 2014.

To simplify, fire retardants are nasty chemicals which can can be detrimental to cat health, in part, because cats often sleeps on furniture and can remain there for long periods, being exposed to chemicals seeping out. If you click on the link I cover this in more detail.

I suppose most cat owners won’t be overly concerned about fire retardants affecting their cat’s health because you can’t see any effects. There is little or no research on the matter. The potential health problem is perceived as not a major issue.

However, if a person looks after a cat and wants to buy some new furniture, I’d argue that it makes sense to, at least, investigate buying furniture that is free of fire retardants because if you like the furniture why not buy it instead of the usual chemical impregnated stuff?.

I’ll cut to the chase. Below is a list of furniture manufacturers in the USA who do not use toxic flame retardants in foam (most upholstered furniture is made using polyurethane foam treated with toxic flame retardant chemicals) or upholstery:

Why not think about it? Just because your cat is healthy it does not necessarily that there aren’t potential future risks and remember that there are many idiopathic diseases (unknown causes). Are these chemicals partly to blame and chemicals in carpets etc.?

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USA: Furniture That Is Fire Retardant Free — 6 Comments

  1. I’m, personally, going in a whole new direction with furnishings.

    I don’t care that there is no documentation about whether chemicals injected into furniture are harmful to animals. Chemicals are chemicals. Anything that isn’t a part of the make up of living things is poison.

    I’m refurnishing my livingroom with very good indoor/outdoor furniture. I’m not completely done deciding; but, I want non-toxic, easy maintenance, and pleasant stuff. I’m done with bacteria harboring carpets and fabrics.

  2. I don’t know much about furniture. Would the effects of the fire retardant wear off after a time and second hand furniture be safer for cats?
    We never buy new furniture because it’s too expensive, so we watch out for a good second hand clean suite and thoroughly clean it ourselves and always put some sort of throw for our cats to sit/lie on.
    But we did have new carpeting in the living room a couple of years ago and I worry that’s what started Jozef’s allergy, although that was 6 months later.
    Thankfully he’s down to a very low dose of steroid now and will be weaned off altogether soon we hope.
    So many worrying things in this modern world now and we call it progress but it seems animals often suffer because of that.

    • Would the effects of the fire retardant wear off after a time and second hand furniture be safer for cats?

      Possibly yes but fire retardants have been around for a long time and I don’t know if the chemicals dissipate. They may even be worse in old furniture.

      The more I read about household products and furnishings the more I realise the potential hazards to cats. The manufacturers don’t factor in cats when they make their products.

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