If fire retardant chemicals were a food or drug they would have to go through years of testing before they were released onto the market. Unfortunately they are not, therefore very little research has been done on the side effects of such chemicals on people. This may not seem important until you realise the huge quantity of these chemicals being used in our homes and the off- gassing* from treated beds, sofa’s and carpets which is then inhaled and digested by us and our children.
When research on the negative effects of these chemicals on human health has been carried out, it has often resulted in a ban. Some people would find this reassuring – until you realise that when a chemical is banned another is put in its place with very little, if any research on the new chemicals impact on human health. Most importantly, no one has asked the question, what has happened to the hundreds of thousands of pieces of furniture, sofa’s, beds etc that have been manufactured with those, now banned, chemicals? The shocking answer is they are still in people’s homes. If they were food or drugs they would have to be recalled.
The British public have a right to know. It’s not good enough just to ban and move on. The government made the furniture manufactures use them, now they are washing their hands of the issue rather than cleaning up the mess**.
*Off-gassing – treated foams give off residues of FR chemicals. Fabric FR backcoating breaks down into a powder that then becomes airborne and settles on surfaces.
** The UK government itself admits there are only two incinerators in the UK that are capable of dealing with these dangerous chemicals safely. Have a look at the following quotation:
21. In addition, it is likely that in the near future EU legislation will require that furniture containing potentially harmful substances (including BFRs) be disposed of safely. This could be an expensive process, especially in light of there currently being only two incinerators in the UK that can deal with the safe disposal of such products (e.g. in sofas). Page 12. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/342523/bis-14-980-furniture-fire-safety-regulations-consultation-document-august-2014-protected.docx