17 April 2020

Flame Retardant Free Furniture Alliance: Unwanted toxic flame retardants prevent circularity and increase fire toxicity

The Alliance for Flame Retardant Free Furniture welcomes the New Circular Economy Action Plan and calls on the EU institutions to address the unnecessary and unwanted use of chemicals which prevent circularity and climate goals, such as toxic flame retardants in furniture. They directly endanger people’s health, as they migrate out of products and may lead to an increase in fire toxicity.

The use of toxic flame retardants is a historical, hazardous and ineffective practice which is not proven to decrease the number of fires. Ensuring fire safety is a must, but it needs to be done in unhazardous ways. Many alternatives to chemical flame retardants exist that are less harmful for human health and the environment.

To address the unwanted use of flame retardants and barriers in the Single Market, harmonisation of flammability standards for furniture across Europe is needed to a level where toxic flame retardants are not needed to comply with flammability standards, buildings and Fire Safety Regulations. Changes in key standards, such as California TB133 should be taken as examples to
follow. In addition to this, restriction of chemicals under REACH should target classes of chemicals rather than individual substances.

All in all, a balance should be achieved between fire safety, chemical safety and circularity.

Download the Alliance’s position paper and view the press release.

ECOS is co-funded by the European Commission and EFTA

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