Reverse Course – CA Attempts to Repeal Flame Retardants


With Technical Bulletin 117 in 1975, California became the first state to pass legislation that required flame retardants to be a part of the sofas. From there, the law spread to encompass nearly all home furnishings that included foam, like mattresses, love seats, chair, and even tents. The provision outlines that home furnishing and items such as these must be able to withstand an open flame for 12 seconds. As the years have passed and research has shed light on the chemical flame retardants used and their impact on health, what once seemed like a universal positive now casts a different shadow.

_Multiple times bills have been drafted in the California legislature – each seeking to repeal the 1975 provision. Each time the bill has failed, arguably due to heavy lobbying efforts by the chemical industry. But why has California changed course? Why is there now a push to remove the flame retardants that were once thought to protect against house fires? To answer these questions, we need to look back at the original law, why it came about and what research since that time has shown us.

_Consumer safety is at the heart of fire retardant use mandate. Testimony of accounts where home furnishings were accidentally set ablaze was one original driving factor. Yet contrary to this push, the law requires that for most products, only the foam must be fire retardant. So for many home furnishings, the exterior fabric, the logical point where a fire could possibly start often requires no special coatings or treatments, and items like mattresses, require a prescription from a doctor before a mattress without flame retardants can be sold or constructed. And to play devil

2 thoughts on “Reverse Course – CA Attempts to Repeal Flame Retardants

  1. ruth conway December 21, 2013 / 11:13 am

    how do I find out if my dogs snoozer dog seat has fire retardant in the foam part of the seat?????

  2. KevvyG December 23, 2013 / 11:06 am

    You'll have to check directly with the manufacturer. Those Snoozer brand products for pets are a different company than the maker of our Snoozer body pillows. You might try
    I'm not sure if that is where you purchased, but they appear to be the manufacturer of what you're describing. I'm just guessing, but unless the beds come with some flame retardant wrap, like the wool wrap that Royal Pedic uses to make their organic mattresses compliant with state laws, it likely has some type of flame retardant in the foam itself. Again, though, you'd have to check with the maker of the product to confirm. Hope that helps!”

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