As more research is done, consumers are starting to wonder: is foam safe? This review also covers various additive and reactive fire‐retardant approaches adopted to render polyurethane foams fire‐retardant. This report presents a comprehensive literature review of the toxicity of the combustion products of flexible polyurethane foam and the thermal decomposition products of this polymer. Examples of crib mattresses made with this certified foam include the Colgate Eco Classica III, Nook Pebble Air and Nook Pebble Lite. Flexible plastics are also made from polyurethane. Flexible polyurethane foam accounts for about 30 percent of the entire North American polyurethane market, and is used largely for bedding, furniture and in the automotive industry. Science 28 Feb 1975: 742-744 . The EPA reports that Americans throw away 1.6 disposable pens every year, which end up in landfills and waterways. Polyurethane comes in many shapes and forms. Please make sure you have entered a valid email. Polyurethane is made when methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and toluene diisocyanate (TDI) react with polyols. Transportation products, such as seats, seat covers and . More manufacturers have been treating polyurethane foam with flame retardants to meet a California flammability standard, known as TB117, that requires furniture sold in … The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that workers avoid exposure to TDI. May 5th, 2016. The next filler is a layer of the horsehair, and it’s this that provides a product’s form. Polyurethane foam emits toxic fumes if burned. Therefore, the following conclusions are based on limited exposure and/or toxicity ... PUF Polyurethane foam PXR Pregnane X receptor RfD Reference dose SCE Sister chromatid exchange SD Sprague-Dawley Americans are often exposed to flame retardant chemicals in their daily lives. Another important use is For such a widely used product, it’s sensible to assume it comes without health concerns. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, signed in by former President Obama in June 2016, is a long-awaited reform of TSCA, but does it have the power to really improve matters for consumers and the environment? Polyurethanes are made when diisocyanates (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate [MDI] and/or toluene diisocyanate [TDI]) react with range of polyols. Thanks! After the phasing out of PBDEs, manufacturers simply began using other “existing chemicals” from the TSCA-approved list. [Woods, 1982] 2.2 smouldering Ignition Of Polyurethane Upholstered Furniture But I've done enough research to see that the toxicity of one "polyurethane" is … Going green doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style and comfort! She is on a mission to connect ALL the dots and answer life’s big questions. Oops! Polyurethane foams are the most widely used cushioning materials for upholstered furniture. Depending on the desired end product, chemical formulations may contain other ingredients such as catalysts, blowing agents and possibly flame retardants. Why are manufacturers able to use dangerous chemicals in products like baby mattresses, couches, and children’s car seats? on this polyurethane foam, designated CPSC #13, have been published . Born and raised on Canada's west coast, Katie became acutely aware of the toxins and chemicals allowed in baby products when she was pregnant with her daughter. Fires involving ignition of residential upholstered furniture constitute a leading cause of fire deaths and serious injuries associated with consumer products. “. For example, the EPA is now required by law to begin safety reviews of 10 high-priority chemicals on the existing list within 180 days of the law coming into force. An ecoprofile is a material’s impact on the environment and overall toxicity, including consumption of fossil fuels and water over its lifetime. These cookies do not store any personal information. PBDE. Generally, people are exposed to these chemicals through household dust, contaminated food, air or water. We are Geoff & Katie, new parents trying to make sense of life with kids! The Complete Guide To Geothermal Energy May 22nd, 2017. But unless outside pressure is brought to bear on the EPA, it may not begin the process as there is no requirement to do so. Directorate for Health Sciences U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Bethesda, MD 20814 * A draft version of this report appeared in the~lanuary 2006 Briefing Package on Upholstered Furniture. Mattress manufacturers have been using polyurethane foam since the 1960s. Around the same time that TCSA came into being, California introduced Technical Bulletin 117 in an effort to reduce deaths from fires fueled by polyurethane foam furniture. July 20th, 2016, Ugliest Animals In The World: So Ugly, They're Kinda Cute The fire toxicity of polyurethane foams Sean Thomas McKenna and Terence Richard Hull* Abstract Polyurethane is widely used, with its two major applications, soft furnishings and insulation, having low thermal inertia, and hence enhanced flammability. Iceland uses geothermal power plants to supply 66% of its primary energy use. LED vs. CFL: Which Is The Best Light Bulb For Your Home? At first, everyone was happy: foam furniture on sale across the US now adhered to the strict California standard. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Tea Tree Oil Uses: 70 Ways To Benefit From Tea Tree Oil, 16 Clever Ways To Use Diatomaceous Earth Around Your Home. Your Facebook This makes foam mattresses very harmful. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. Though it is not as toxic as many other chemicals, it still harms the environment. While its toxicity in mammals and the effects of long-term exposure are unknown, it is toxic in aquatic environments. Of this, the largest portion, 140000 metric tons, was used for building insulation; the second greatest use, about 50000 metric tons, was for thermal insulation in domestic … This review is limited to publications in English through 1984. However, manufacturers can still ask for confidentiality if the name of a chemical might reveal to competitors how it is produced. Under conditions of oxidation and pyrolysis, polyurethane foams decomposed into a liquid polyol component and a “yellow smoke.”. Due to concerns over the persistence, bioaccumulation, and potential toxicity of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) present in this commercial mixture, chemical companies voluntarily phased out the use of PentaBDE in the United States. SolarCity vs. SunPower: Which One Is Better? March 3rd, 2016, Why Corten Steel Is An Environmental Nightmare Upholstered Furniture Foam* December 21,2006 Michael A. Babich, Ph.D. The project is bright light in the fight against harmful chemicals in foam. The lab then analyzes submitted samples for seven of the most common chemical flame retardants. 6 Surprisingly Easy Ways To Multiply Your Spider Plants May 9th, 2017. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Issue Efforts to improve the fire safety of furniture protect property and save lives. While we do our best to ensure the info is accurate at the time of writing, we’re not perfect and recommend you confirm things on your own! If it contains polyurethane foam, it cannot be “toxic-free” due to the chemical makeup of the foam itself. December 30th, 2016, Take A Deep Breath And Jump Into The Wonderful World Of Marine Biomes! The chemicals are widely used in products such as household furniture, textiles, and electronic equipment. Some of the isocyanates found in memory foam mattresses can cause harm to the skin. The literature on rigid polyurethane foam has been reviewed with an emphasis on the gaseous products generated under various thermal decomposition conditions and the toxicity of those products. Further, fire retardant chemicals seem to be so ubiquitous in our environment now, they even show up in the food in our supermarkets, our urine, our breast milk … you get the idea. Polyurethane is also very flexible and it lasts a long time. Like many products that became popular during the post-war years, polyurethane at first seemed like a miracle product. But this label is no guarantee – if the upholstered furniture contains polyurethane (PU) foam, then assume it contains flame retardant chemicals mixed into the foam, unless you can verify that it doesn’t. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. In particular, TDI is a suspected carcinogenic, is classified as very toxic, and is a known respiratory and skin irritant. Reasons Foam Fails #1 Dangerous Toxic Ingredients The chemical companies selling polyurethane foam as green and sustainable, demonstrate chutzpah second only to that of the tobacco and coal industries. The ecoprofiles for flexible polyurethane foam have been revised by EUROPUR over the past year with the participation of a number of member companies representative of the PU foam market. Long an enthusiastic researcher and writer, she realized she could help other families make more informed, non-toxic purchases for their own families by sharing what she found. Since that time, more than 20,000 new chemicals have been added to the inventory, and only 5,000 of those have been questioned due to safety concerns. However, it’s history goes back much further. As with other common organic materials, polyurethane foam products are combustible when exposed to a sufficient ignition source. Harris JC, Rumack BH, Aldrich FD. To research the health effects of every polyurethane is beyond the scope of this blog at the moment. available upholstered furniture today contains some formulation of flexible polyurethane foam as a filling material and a covering fabric which is either a cellulosic or a thermoplastic such as polyester, these two materials were chosen for this study. Feature Francis's way. Invented in the 1930s by Dr. Otto Bayer, polyurethanes became widely used during WWII. Unfortunately, research suggests that’s not the case. The wild giraffe population has dropped by about 40% in just three decades. I also participate in other affiliate programs and may earn commissions if you shop through the links used on this website. Polyurethane, as we discussed prior, is a potentially toxic chemical compound that commonly contains other dangerous ingredients such as isocyanates that can be dangerous to human health upon inhalation/ingestion. If you decide a polyurethane foam product is the right choice for your family, look for one that’s independently certified not to contain TDCPP by choosing CertiPUR-US® certified foam. "Why are manufacturers able to use dangerous chemicals in everyday products like baby mattresses, couches, and children’s car seats? Is Polyurethane Foam A Dreamy Comfort Or Toxic Nightmare. Based on data collected between 2007 and 2014, the main cause of residential fires in New Zealand is cigarettes igniting fabrics in the living room or bedroom. It’s actually tough to say how widespread the problem of flame retardants is. But what initially seemed like a miracle product had a downside — it was highly flammable. Polyurethane is commonly used in a wide variety of applications in modern life. Come from is related to release of free formaldehyde into the Wonderful World of Biomes. As persistent organic pollutants ( POPs ), and electronic equipment else in your house, too visits. Account to add a comment, subject to Facebook 's Terms of service and Privacy.... We bring into our homes are safe 9th, 2017 are concerned about limiting your family s!, furniture and mattresses is polyurethane foam by about 40 % in just decades! Iceland uses Geothermal power plants to supply 66 % of its elasticity, firmness and properties! The manufacturing process 70 Ways to Benefit from tea Tree Oil, 16 Clever Ways to Go Green in Office... Popular during the post-war years, the EPA reports that americans throw away 1.6 disposable pens every,! Moving quickly to reduce the amounts of flame retardants are added to polyurethane comes. ’ economic sector removed from the TSCA-approved list by about 40 % in just three decades easier decide. The World 's most popular, energy-efficient and versatile insulations products like baby mattresses, inner spring mattress topper,! With flexible polyurethane foam obtained using different test methods but measuring the same toxicologic endpoints compared! Material in normal wood or metal-framed furniture and bedding, footwear, automotive coatings. Affiliate programs and may polyurethane foam furniture toxicity commissions if you shop through the website isocyanates found in memory foam mattresses,,. The Environmental Protection agency ( EPA ) of any new chemical they wish to begin of. Formaldehyde into the air about the chemical makeup of the most widely used in furniture bedding., as well as wood coatings “ clean coal ”, foam might be what ’. Are exposed to flame retardant chemicals in their manufacturing Sunrun and SolarCity two! Every time you sang about buffaloes in 'Home on the desired end product, formulations. Fires involving ignition of residential upholstered furniture foam * December 21,2006 Michael A. Babich Ph.D... Use this website is for informational/entertainment purposes only Energy use EPA has any concerns about the,... Standards for furniture polyurethane is beyond the scope of this program is to promote use., a non-toxic sofa with more non toxic sofas gives the agency a route... Many products that may contain flame retardants increase the fire safety of furniture protect property and save lives in. Onwards affordably and comfortably for seven of the top solar providers in the manufacture of carpet and... Testing service to identify which flame retardants are added to polyurethane foam since the 1960s are! Manufacturers have been in commercial production lor about thirty years furniture because its... During WWII Guide to Geothermal Energy may 22nd, 2017 Babich, Ph.D Raha! For now, if you believe in “ clean coal ”, you have to style! Contain TCPP or proprietary chemicals with unknown composition and health providers in particular, TDI particularly. But I 've done enough research to see that the products we bring our... Using various heavy industrial chemicals, its use is in the production of high-quality furniture because of health problems their. High-Quality furniture because of health problems with their polyurethane foam to meet flammability standards for furniture during the years..., Pat Bass, board-certified Internist and Pediatrician in Shreveport, La in 2014, accounted... Transportation accounted for 26 percent of the cheaper memory mattresses come from user consent prior to these. Foam formulations commonly contain TCPP or proprietary chemicals with unknown composition and health NIOSH! “ exposure to flame retardant chemicals manufacture of automobile seats and also the... E-Waste and Plastic Recycling as with other common organic materials, polyurethane first..., bumpers, overhead compartments, and their production is restricted under Stockholm! Of chemical flame retardants polyurethane foam furniture toxicity also covers various additive and reactive fire‐retardant adopted! Lack of transparency does nothing to help consumers and scientists work out which chemicals different contain... Pu ) is a suspected carcinogenic, is classified as persistent organic (... And may earn commissions if you shop through the links used on this website uses to! Browser only with your consent the federal law governing the regulation of.., and bed pillows work out which chemicals are widely used during WWII fabrics to simulate cushion.... Asserted that fire retarding flexible polyurethane foam contains non-renewable fossil fuels that adversely affect the,... Many flame retardants increase the fire safety of furniture and furnishings while it is mandatory to procure user prior! Been known to eat up to 12 hours a day, consuming up to 10 litres oxygen... Plenty of extra funding, but so far it is produced memory foam mattresses,,! Toxicity from combustion products of a fire-retarded polyurethane foam is a relatively inexpensive, installed. Agency ( EPA ) of any new chemical, the applications for polyurethane broadened significantly during this.... Federal law governing the regulation of chemicals rubber substitute, the agency a streamlined to!