FIRA, the UK Furniture Industry Research Association, has published two industry overview reports on alternative flame retardants for upholstered furniture and on the impact of FRs on the “end of life” of furniture and furnishings. The first report gives short information about the principal FRs used in furniture, their mode of action and of application to textiles (immersion, back-coating), foams and furniture.
A detailed status of the regulatory status on Deca-BDE is provided, because it used to be widely applied, and the document states that most UK textile coaters have now abandoned this chemical replacing it by EBP (ethane-1,2-diyl)bis[pentabromobenzene], indicating that “this still belongs to the brominated family of chemicals and is subject to an ongoing REACH evaluation with a final decision due in 2017 / 2018. EBP has not been proposed for consideration as a POP (Persistent Organic Pollutant) at this time.” This report concludes that alternative FR solutions for furniture are still not widely on the market. The second report, on FRs and furniture recycling mainly discusses the problems posed by the presence of certain legacy brominated substances used as flame retardants in end-of-life furniture, resulting from application of regulation on transboundary transport of hazardous waste and the Stockholm convention on POPs. The report concludes that there are, today, no specific regulations regarding furniture and furnishings waste management, that pressure is expected to develop, in particular if DecaBDE is added to the Stockholm Convention POP lists, and that it is in the furniture industry’s interest to already investigate practical solutions to trace, monitor and manage flame retardants in end-of-life furniture, including labelling specifying FRs in new furniture placed on the market.
FIRA (UK Furniture Industry Research Association) report “Current and alternative flame retardants for upholstered furniture”, September 2015, 44 pages.
FIRA report “The potential impact of flame retardants on the “End of life” of upholstered furniture and furnishings”, September 2015, 48 pages