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SB 1019 Introduced by California State Senator Mark Leno

Media Advisory March 26, 2014

Consumers’ Right to Know:  Flame Retardants in Furniture


  • The state of California has found that flame retardant chemicals in furniture do not provide a meaningful fire safety benefit.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flame retardant chemicals can migrate into the air and dust, where people can be exposed to them.

  • Beginning this year, furniture manufacturers who sell their products in California are allowed to produce upholstered furniture that does not contain flame retardant chemicals and still provides adequate fire safety.

  • While the state’s new regulations no longer require manufacturers to use flame retardant chemicals, consumers will have no way of knowing if a piece of furniture does or does not contain flame retardant chemicals.

  • SB 1019, authored by Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, will give California consumers the ability and freedom to make informed decisions when making furniture purchases.

  • The bill requires disclosure of the use or absence of flame retardant chemicals on a furniture product’s existing label. It also requires the information to be displayed near the retail point of purchase.

Consumer Right to Know

  • When purchasing furniture for their homes and families, California consumers want, and should have, the ability and freedom to make informed decisions.

  • The option of making an informed choice is especially crucial for upholstered furniture since the decision intimately affects a consumer’s living space for a long period of time and their family’s exposure to toxic and untested chemicals.

  • Consumers are increasingly demanding products that do not contain these chemicals. However, without this legislation, consumers would not know which furniture products sold in California do not contain flame retardant chemicals.

  • Disclosure of the flame retardant chemicals contained in consumer products serves the public’s interest, builds consumer confidence, and creates greater transparency in the marketplace.

  • Despite growing evidence concluding that flame retardant chemicals harm human health and do not provide a fire safety benefit, this bill would allow consumers to make the informed decisions to purchase products that do contain these chemicals.

Health Concerns

  • Flame retardant chemicals are associated with a variety of health concerns, including cancer, decreased fertility, hormone disruption, lower IQ and hyperactivity.

  • A growing body of evidence suggests that these chemicals harm both human health and the environment.

  • The presence of some flame retardant chemicals in a fire produces more toxic smoke and gases that put firefighters and other first responders in harm’s way. Protecting the men and women who risk their lives to protect public safety should be a top priority.

  • The California Professional Firefighters, the largest statewide organization dedicated to serving the needs of career firefighters, is one of the sponsors of SB 1019. CPF supports this legislation because flame retardants in furniture do not improve fire safety. Instead, they create hazardous by-products in fires that could harm the health of first responders.

Good for Business

  • Many furniture retailers want to help their customers make informed decisions by providing them information about flame retardant chemicals.

  • Labeling would result in negligible costs for producers and would provide businesses with a uniform way to communicate this important information to their consumers.

  • SB 1019 is supported by both small and large businesses.