100 signatures reached
To: Anna Soubry MP
Ban All Chemical Fire Retardants in Furniture
Ban the use of all chemical fire retardants in UK domestic furniture. Review and act on the international scientific evidence which proves that fire retardants chemicals are dangerous to the public, the environment and members of the fire brigade. Inform the public of the dangers of these toxic chemicals in their homes. Direct industry to look at greener alternatives as there are many.
Why is this important?
Every aspect of fire prevention is really important, but the fire retardant chemicals used in domestic furniture have become an even greater threat to the public, than the risk of fire. These chemicals have a dual danger, firstly in the everyday home environment, and also as highly toxic emissions when the chemical is burnt, which endangers the public and firemen alike. These chemicals are not measured in parts per thousand – they are measured in kilos in each piece of furniture! To prevent fires spreading there are other highly effective natural alternatives, smoke alarms and other efficient fire prevention methods which do not need any of these chemicals.
In America and Europe the public, led by the Fire Brigade, have lobbied hard and have banned the use of fire retardant chemicals in domestic furniture. A huge body of international scientific evidence now links everyday exposure to fire retardant chemicals used in sofas, mattresses and other household items to thyroid problems, lower birth weight, reduced IQ, hyperactivity, poorer coordination, reduced fertility, birth defects, hormonal changes and cancer. Evidence proves the chemicals systematically migrate from furniture into the home environment through household dust. It particularly affects children and research has also shown the harmful impact on animal life and the environment. The UK is one of the few countries still using these chemicals in furniture.
When individual fire retardants have been banned in the past, the furniture containing these chemicals has just been left in people's homes and the owners have not been informed. The government is keeping the public in the dark.
So, how do we get rid of the furniture in our homes which is full of the chemical fire retardants? Under the Stockholm Agreement, the government plans to burn fire retardant furniture in incinerators which they are building up and down the country. Before this happens we need to be very sure the government is strictly controlling the emissions as the effluent is even more toxic.
We have been using these fire retardant chemicals in our furniture for almost 30 years. The UK government needs to act to make legislative changes. Whilst the Department of Business has been working on amendments to the Fire Regulations for many years, nothing has been achieved. They need to talk to manufacturers about natural alternatives, inform the public and take action to protect us now.
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