California’s current furniture flammability standard (TB 117) is a LOSE-LOSE proposition for families nationwide, not just those in California.
Independent, peer-reviewed studies have shown that the standard provides no fire safety benefits. In fact, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) conducted burn tests of chairs and concluded that TB 117 did not provide a significant fire safety benefit. But TB 117 does expose people, animals and the environment to unnecessary toxic chemicals.
The flame retardant industry has some dirty secrets. Many chemical flame retardants are toxic. They fail to stop foam in furniture from catching fire. They also fail to reduce the severity of the fires.
And this may be the dirtiest of all: toxic, flame-retardant chemicals actually make fires less survivable. When furniture treated with flame retardants catches fire, it gives off higher levels of carbon monoxide, soot, and smoke than untreated foam. Inhalation of these toxics gases is the major cause of fire deaths, not the fire itself!
California and the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission have proposed new standards that would provide greater fire safety without the required use of flame retardant chemicals.