3 Household Items with Flame Retardant Chemicals

In 1975, Governor Jerry Brown signed the “Technical Bulletin 117” (TB117) into law, which required furniture manufacturers to use flame-retardant chemicals within upholstered furniture sold in California. The practice, which was meant to protect consumers from potential fires, was actually poisoning those who brought the products into their homes. Flame retardants are known to cause cancer and reproductive problems.

Today, toxic flame retardants can still be found within furniture and other household items. Here are just a few of the poisonous products:


Bonded polyurethane carpet cushion accounts for over 85% of carpet cushion produced in the United States and contain flame retardants.


If your couch contains polyurethane foam and has a TB117 label, it contains flame retardant chemicals. Many furniture manufacturers are working to remove toxic chemicals from their products.


Next time you lay down for a restful night’s sleep, try not to think about the toxic chemicals you are relaxing on and breathing in. Even pillows can contain dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals.

If you are worried about purchasing furniture with toxic flame retardants, you are not alone. Look at your couch, mattress, and carpet tags to help determine what chemicals were used in the their making, and do not hesitate to contact companies about what hazardous substances are used in their products.

Sources: Green Science Policy | KQED