Specifying Upholstered Furniture to Safeguard Health and Well-Being: A Toolkit for Reducing Fire and Chemical Risks


There is a growing awareness of upholstered furniture's potential role in introducing chemicals of concern into the indoor environment. Protection from fire hazards and chemical risks are not mutually exclusive and should be an essential safety feature of residential furniture. New research has evaluated the chemical exposure risks of residential upholstered furniture alongside its fire safety risks, looking at various flame-resistant fabrication strategies. This research found that there is a way to manufacture chairs without the use of chemical flame retardants that successfully addresses fire safety concerns. Specifically, this can be achieved through use of a fire barrier that fully encapsulates the cushion in upholstered furniture. This toolkit presents a case for why both chemical safety and fire safety must be considered when selecting furniture, offers guidance on how to specify solutions that address this safety convergence, and summarizes meaningful research on flame retardant exposure and furniture flammability.