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Flame Retardants in Furniture Foam: Benefits and Risks

Babrauskas, V., Blum, A., Daley R. and Birnbaum L., 2011. Flame Retardants in Furniture Foam: Benefits and Risks. Fire Safety Science 10: 265-278. 10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.10-265


The extensive use of chemical flame retardants to meet the California Furniture Flammability Standard Technical Bulletin 117 (TB117)provides an example of the need for consideration of environmental impacts of fire safety interventions before they are widely implemented. Flame retardants are currently being used in products with high levels of human exposure without adequate toxicological testing. For example, flame retardants commercially used to meet TB117 have been found to have negative consequences in the environment. And notably, the TB117 standard has not been shown to have a measurable fire safety benefit. Both the unintended adverse environmental and health impacts and the lack of fire safety benefits of California TB117 are discussed in detail.

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