Many companies across the nation have already met California’s 2014 flammability standard that allows furniture manufacturers to stop using harmful flame retardant chemicals in polyurethane foam. And the momentum to keep these chemicals out of furniture continues as similar legislation in other states has been passed or introduced.
This market shift means that families and individuals shopping for a new couch can now choose from hundreds of flame retardant-free options.
A 2016 survey by the Center for Environmental Health, conducted in collaboration with the American Home Furnishings Alliance and the Sustainable Furnishing Council, determined that 43 companies representing 65 brands are now making fire retardant-free furniture.
If you’re buying a sofa, look at the label, often located under cushions or on the bottom of the piece, to make sure it was made without flame retardants. California law doesn’t ban the chemicals but it requires that their presence be disclosed on the labels of any furniture made in or after 2015.
If you don’t see a label, you need to ask the manufacturer whether flame retardant chemicals are in the upholstered product.
Here are seven companies that produce flame retardant-free furniture:
1. Ashley Furniture
Example: Brace Sofa in Granite, $799.99 (price varies by location)
One of the nation’s largest furniture retailers, Ashley Furniture announced that it would stop adding fire retardant chemicals to products made in 2015 or after. All products are labeled according to California’s flame retardant law.
2. Crate and Barrel
Example: Margot Sofa, $1,099
As of Jan. 1, 2015, all newly manufactured Crate and Barrel couches contain no chemical flame retardants.
3. Endicott Home
The company’s website says that it stopped using chemical flame retardants in its furniture.
4. Ethan Allen
Example: Conway Sofa, $2,399
Ethan Allen is one of a growing number of furniture companies whose websites state that their products are made without added flame retardant chemicals.
Example: Nockeby Sofa, in Tenö light gray, $899
A public relations representative in IKEA’s U.S. corporate office said that the company complies with the California law and has been manufacturing products under the new requirements since December 2014. More information on its chemical-free fire safety can be found on page 35 of the IKEA Group FY15 Sustainability Report.
6. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Example: Alex Sofa, $2,125
In its online Eco Statement, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams commit to “[cushions] free of fire-retardant chemicals,” plus other environmentally friendly measures. Its couches are available at its signature stores and some third-party vendors.
7. Roger + Chris
Example: Basel Sofa, $1,609
The furniture is available exclusively through the company’s online store. Its website claims that its products were manufactured without toxic byproducts, including flame retardants, PBDEs, plasticizers, phthalates, persistent organic pollutants and polyvinyl chloride.
If you purchased your sofa before 2015, there’s a good chance the manufacturer treated the cushion foam with toxic flame retardant chemicals linked to cancer and hormone disruption.
As evidence of the dangers of flame retardants mount, we hope that even more flame retardant-free couches will be available soon.
For more information on where you can find fire retardant-free furniture, check out these links:
- Center for Environmental Health Residential Furniture Survey
- Center for Environmental Health Flame Retardants
- Green Science Policy Council’s 2015 Guide to Furniture Without Added Flame Retardants
- Natural Resources Defense Council’s Safer Sofa Guide
- Chicago Tribune series “Playing with Fire,” which chronicled the history and use of toxic flame retardants