Does Fire-Retardant Furniture Really Work? , 08 th Mar 2018


There’s a lot of truth to the phrase, “As California goes, so goes the rest of the country.” A clear example of that affected the furniture industry when, in 1975, California legislators passed Technical Bulletin 117, which required upholstered furniture in the state to contain flame-retardant chemicals.

Things didn’t quite work out as planned, however, and we’ll talk about why in this issue.

Has fire-retardant furniture been successful?

Not really. The original intent was to make the foam inside the upholstered furniture able to withstand being consumed by flame for 12 seconds…no exactly a lot of time.

More disturbingly, some studies revealed that the chemicals intended to make a piece of furniture fire-retardant could actually work their way out and onto household surfaces. The bad part about that is that the chemicals have been revealed to potentially lead to a number of health problems – including cancer.

What’s been done to make fire-retardant furniture?

There were new laws eventually passed by California that limited the use of flame-retardant chemicals in our furniture. In addition, steps have been taken to make flame-retardant chemicals more easily controlled and confined within the furniture.

What can I do to make sure my furniture is safe?

Take a look at the label on your furniture; it should state what – if any – chemicals are included.

Here’s a list of major manufacturers in the U.S. telling whether or not they continue to produce flame-retardant furniture or are phasing them all altogether. If the furniture store you normally do business with is not on the list, you may want to ask them about their policy.

Also, it’s a good idea to step up your vacuuming around the house and washing your hands more.


There are a host of services that are often necessary in the fire and smoke restoration process, and we’re experts in all of them. If your home or business is damaged by fire, call us here at J&M Keystone; our number is 800-368-2757.


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