Risk assessment of use of flame retardants in furniture and textiles for interiors

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A new project report with a survey and risk assessment of use of flame retardants in furniture and textiles for interiors was published by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency on April 7, 2014.

Flame retardants were primary used in furniture, textiles, carpets and curtains to be used in public buildings or other professional contexts, where specific fire standards apply.

Only 15 products were analyzed for flame retardants: three office chairs, eight mattresses, three chairs/armchairs and one plaid.


Three of the chairs contained flame retardants in the form of  tris(2-chloro-1-methylethyl) phosphate (TCPP) and tris(2-chloro-1-(chloromethyl)ethyl) phosphate (TDCPP) in the foam – not in the textiles! None of the mattresses or the rug analysed in this study contained flame retardants.

A comprehensive exposure- and health assessment according to REACH guidelines was undertaken for these two chloroorganic phosphates, and the conclusion was that exposure to the furniture analyzed in this project posed no risk to the consumer.

Such a conclusion based on only three samples is irrelevant and misleading. A risk assessment should be based on more samples and more products and should take into account the total exposure of people to the evaluated chemicals, including from other sources.

The health assessment of the two flame retardants was also incomplete and biased. Another flame retardant mentioned: Melamine phosphate was wrongly named as ”melanin phosphate”.


The report seemed to be much inspired by the Arcadis 2011-report for the European Commission on “Identification and evaluation of data on flame retardants in consumer product”.

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