From 2004 to late 2015 I was responsible for the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (FFRs) which are the toughest in the world. From 2009 I led the overall review of the FFRs at what is now the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). I worked across the full spectrum of fire safety and furniture manufacture: forming close relationships with retailers, trade associations, MPs, Trading Standards, the fire services and many other government departments. I chaired hundreds of workshops, played an active roll in UK and EU standards-making groups, and gave talks around the world on fire safety legislation.
Around 2012 I became concerned that while the UK claimed it had the best fire safety regime in the world, the result was that our domestic furniture contains the highest levels of flame retardants. I studied the evidence and was convinced that flame retardants can be harmful to human health and the environment. From early 2013 to August 2014, I developed a new match test for the FFRs, in conjunction with BEIS’s technical advisor, Steve Owen of Intertek. This test was due to be implemented in April 2015 and would have hugely reduced the use of flame retardants in our furniture, as well as saved many lives. In the process of developing the test, we also discovered that the current match test mostly does not work, thereby calling in to question the UK’s claim to ultimate fire safety. However, the chemical industry stood to lose millions and so they and their allies worked to prevent it being implemented. So far they are succeeding.
I now campaign to force BEIS to implement the changes its own published evidence proves will save lives and help hugely to stop us being poisoned by excessive levels of flame retardants in our homes. Find out more at: www.terryedge.weebly.com