Flame retardants and the dangers associated with them are finally being taken seriously. BUT…when will the builders and architects start understanding homes with spray foam insulation have much more flame retardant in the foams than any one piece of furniture. Chlorinated Tris is in SPF at least in Sealection 500 from Demilec.
12:05 a.m. CDT, March 27, 2013
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California officials vowed Tuesday to move forward on a new fire safety rule that could eliminate the use of toxic flame retardants in household furniture and baby products sold nationwide.
At a public hearing on the proposed standard, what was most striking was what didn’t happen. Unlike previous forums on the issue, no witnesses for the chemical industry presented dramatic testimony about children dying in fires or videos of couches engulfed in flames.
Instead, a single consultant for a group representing the manufacturers of flame retardants disputed technical details of the proposal and said it would not adequately protect people from furniture fires.
The proposed changes would require upholstery fabric to resist cigarettes and other smoldering items — the biggest cause of furniture fires. California currently requires the foam cushioning underneath to withstand a candlelike flame for 12 seconds, a standard manufacturers typically meet by adding flame-retardant chemicals to furniture sold nationwide.
The rule also has been applied to baby products such as diaper-changing pads, highchairs and nursery rockers.
California announced last year that it would overhaul its 38-year-old flammability rule after a Tribune investigative series documented how the chemical and tobacco industries waged a deceptive, decades long campaign to promote the use of flame retardants, even though government and independent research has found the chemicals do not provide meaningful protection from furniture fires.
If the state adopts the changes later this year, scores of new household products might soon be free of flame retardants linked to cancer and other health problems. Studies show the chemicals migrate out of products into household dust ingested by people, especially young children.