Foamcraft's Response to Media's Take on FR Chemicals

March
 
05
2013
Over the last several months, many media outlets have published articles about certain chemicals found in flame retardant foam that studies have found could cause cancer and complications during pregnancy. While Foamcraft is not in a position to accuse these articles of falsehood, there are some points that the media has missed, and that we, as a successful business in this industry for over 60 years, are able to shed some facts into.
 
Below are some points we feel need to be known to anyone buying foam products.

 

1. PBDE fire retardant chemicals were eliminated in January 2005. There are a lot of questions, and reports in the media, that are still addressing these chemicals that have long since been absent in foam. This of course confuses the situation. All foam we supply is absent of PBDEs.
 
2. TDCPP, which was a component of certain FR chemicals that were developed and approved after PBDEs were phased out, have been added to the California Proposition 65 chemicals of concern list in October of 2011. In October of 2012, products that still contained TDCPP were required to have labels indicating that the state of California has found that this component can cause cancer. Many of the foam types that we use and supply never used FRs that contained this component. As of October 2012, none of the foam types we supply contains it. We can verify this with letters and further info from our suppliers if necessary. There are actually several lawsuits in the furniture industry right now, but for the most part they are addressing this issue which has already been resolved.
 
3. Beyond these two issues, there are still customers who are concerned about FR chemicals in general. We believe this concern, beyond these two issues, is not warranted, and that the FRs used in the industry now, which have been approved by the EPA and heavily researched by the foam manufacturers to ensure the lack of harmful chemicals, are still important for the reduction of household fires as regulated by California Technical Bulletin 117.
 
The FRs used now fall into two categories: halogenated (or brominated), and non-halogenated. Both are not knowingly harmful, but halogenated or brominated FRs are what are still generating concerns and getting a lot of media coverage. Because of this, and because of an effort in the state of California to eliminate Cal 117, many furniture manufacturers are considering moving away from FR chemicals in general. We feel this is a mistake, but we just cut the foam. So that is what we will do no matter what the industry requires. The non-halogenated option still could be the solution to eliminate all the concerns currently out there, while also still offering adequate fire resistance per Cal 117.