Press Release: Unwanted toxic flame retardants preventing circularity and increasing fire toxicity


15 Apr 2020


15 April 2020

The Alliance for Flame Retardant Free Furniture welcomes the New Circular Economy Action Plan and calls on the EU institutions to address the unnecessary and unwanted use of chemicals which prevent circularity and climate goals, such as toxic flame retardants in furniture, which endanger at the same time people’s and firefighters’ health, as they migrate out of products and may lead to an increase in fire toxicity.

The use of toxic flame retardants is a historical, hazardous and ineffective practice which is not proven to decrease the number of fires. Ensuring fire safety is a must, but it needs to be done in unhazardous ways. Many alternatives to chemical flame retardants exist that are less harmful for human health and the environment.

To address the unwanted use of flame retardants and barriers in the Single Market, harmonisation of flammability standards for furniture across Europe is needed to a level where toxic flame retardants are not needed to comply with flammability standards, buildings and Fire Safety Regulations. Changes in key standards, such as California TB133 should be taken as examples to  follow. In addition to this, restriction of chemicals under REACH should target classes of chemicals rather than individual substances. All in all, a balance should be achieved between fire safety, chemical safety and circularity.



Download full position paper here.


Larissa Copello, Consumption & Production Campaigner at Zero Waste Europe, [email protected]

Eilidh Robb, Communications Officer at Zero Waste Europe, [email protected]

The Alliance
The Alliance for Flame Free Furniture was created in 2016 and gathers a wide range of stakeholders, from furniture and bedding manufacturers, NGOs, firefighters organisations and trade unions, working together towards one goal: achieving a harmonisation of furniture flammability standards across Europe to a level where toxic flame retardants are not needed. The Alliance is convinced that toxic flame retardants do not bring any fire safety benefit and are harmful to human health and the environment.