Cancer Free Couches
Status: In progress
The problem: California’s unique flammability standard, Technical Bulletin 117 (TB117), requires the filling inside upholstered furniture to withstand a 12-second exposure to an open flame. Products with a label saying they meet TB117 usually contain toxic or untested halogenated flame retardant chemicals. However, as our research has shown, flame retardants as used to meet TB117 do not provide a fire safety benefit.
TB117 covers items including couches, sofas, armchairs, love seats, recliners, padded benches, ottomans, dining chairs, barstools, home office and juvenile furniture.
Even though TB117 is a California standard, manufacturers often sell TB117-compliant products across the U.S. and Canada to avoid maintaining a double inventory and for defense against liability claims. This means that TB117 is the de facto standard for all 50 U.S. states and in Canada.
Recently, the California Governer directed the Bureau to revise TB117.
On Feb 8, 2013, the Bureau announced TB117-2013.
TB117-2013 takes a commonsense approach to protecting public health and safety by addressing how and where fires start in the real world. Fires start on fabric, and cigarettes are the leading cause of furniture fires. TB117-2013 requires a smolder test for fabric, which was absent from the old standard. And flame retardant chemicals are not needed in order to meet TB117-2013! This means improved fire safety without toxic chemicals. Read more on our blog.
Learn what you can do to support the change on our Take Action page.
GSP is working with industry, policy makers, and scientists to support revisions to TB117 that will provide better fire safety without the need for toxic chemicals.
U.S.:The Consumer Product Safety Commission is moving forward with a draft furniture flammability standard that contains a smolder standard for fabric, which should not require the use of flame retardant chemicals.
Standard for the Flammability of Residential Upholstered Furniture; Proposed Rule
Buying Flame Retardant-Free Furniture
Cancer-Free Couch Fact Sheet
ConsumerWatch: Berkeley Scientist Fights Furniture Flame Retardants
Huffington Post, Killer Couch Chemicals
New York Times, Chemical Burns
- GSP Blog
- Educate Yourself
- In the News
- About Us
Mobilizing scientists, industry, government and consumers to reduce toxics