California regulators say they're committed to eliminating toxic flame retardants from baby products and couches within a year.
"We in California have had a unique flammability standard since 1975," Blum says. "That [standard] has been met with pound levels of chemicals that are like DDT or PCBs in our couches. And they’re chemicals that are continually migrating out of couches into dust and they’re ending up in our pets and our children ... and in us.”
This week Tonya Blood, the head of the department that oversees furniture regulations, told a state senate committee the agency is committed to getting rid of the old standard and replacing it with new fire-safety rules that can be met without the use of chemicals.
Right now, Blood says, upholstered furniture has to be able to withstand an open flame for a number of seconds, which requires the chemical treatment of foam. The new approach to fire safety would draw on federal standards requiring safer outer fabrics that don't need chemical flame retardants to pass a smolder test.