Governor Brown Announces New Standards to Reduce Toxic Chemicals in Furniture

Safeguards will protect millions of Americans; furniture manufacturers may be able to comply with new standard as early as January 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (November 21, 2013) – California Governor Jerry Brown today announced the state’s new flammability standards for upholstered furniture, the culmination of a year-long effort by the Brown administration and environmental, public health and consumer groups who advocated to modernize the standards and reduce Californians’ exposure to toxic and untested flame retardant chemicals. 

Following is a statement by Avinash Kar, staff attorney in the Health Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“This is good news for Californians and people across the country. The long-overdue new standards will protect us against fires without the need for toxic fire retardant chemicals, which have been linked to cancer and other health problems. This is a win-win for millions of consumers everywhere.”


Last year, Governor Brown directed state agencies to revise California’s nearly 40-year-old flammability standards for upholstered furniture sold in the state to reflect modern manufacturing methods that can reduce the use of harmful flame retardant chemicals.

Numerous studies have found links between exposure to chemicals used as flame retardants in upholstered furniture and cancer and fertility issues. These chemicals also disproportionately impact children. One study found toddlers can have up to three times the level of flame retardants in their bodies as their parents.

For more on flame retardants, see Avinash Kar’s blog:

See NRDC’s movie, My Toxic Couch:

For the proposed regulations, go here: