Be gone, toxic furniture!

State adopts new standards for toxic flame-retardants in furniture

California recently adopted new flammability standards for upholstered furniture, revising 40-year-old standards that failed to address widespread exposure to toxic flame retardants.

Gov. Jerry Brown announced on Nov. 21 the approval of the new standards, which are designed to reflect more modern manufacturing methods such as using smolder-resistant cover fabrics and smolder-resistant barriers beneath cover fabrics, according to a Governor’s Office press release. Also, manufacturers will no longer be required to administer an open-flame test, which will in some cases entirely eliminate the need for flame retardants.

Various studies have linked exposure to chemical flame retardants to cancer and fertility problems. The chemicals also disproportionately affect children; one study found that toddlers, compared to their parents, had up to three times the amount of flame-retardant chemicals in their bodies.