The European Furniture Industries Confederation has organised a meeting and launched a petition against the use of flame retardants in furniture.
The industry confederation argues that furniture fire safety regulations differing between EU Member States “prevent the free circulation of goods and reduce competition, giving preference to local producers.” The furniture industry document claims that flame retardants increase costs, pose quality problems and hinder recycling. The industry confederation’s petition points to issues with certain flame retardants, with a mixture of facts (some are POPs) and hypotheses (some FRs suggested to be endocrine disruptors, dioxins in firefighters blood), fails to take account of differences between flame retardants, and then goes on to demand that all flame retardants in furniture be abandoned claiming that “fire safety is achievable without the use of flame retardants.” The measures cited are smoke detectors, public information campaigns and verification of electrical installations, all measures pinfa fully supports and which are important in parallel to ensuring fire safety of materials and building contents. The document however makes no proposals as to how the furniture industry proposes to address furniture fire safety without flame retardants, for example by requiring inherently fire resistant textiles for furniture coverings (e.g. leather, thick wool, aramide …) or physical barriers underneath covering textiles to prevent ignition of foam cushioning. The document also fails to distinguish between domestic furniture where such measures may be sufficient and furniture in public places, transport, institutions, where strict fire safety requirements are essential.
“Building a Strategy to Abandon the Use of Hazardous Flame Retardants in Furniture and Mattresses in Europe”, 28th April 2016 www.efic.eu