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Ongoing research, events, communication and policy updates regarding the safety and health impacts of flame retardants in upholstered furniture have elevated the issues of effectively managing the coinciding risks of chemical exposure and product flammability. While these issues impact upholstered furniture, they also expand to diverse product categories including consumer electronics, insulations, construction materials, home décor (rugs, paint, and non-upholstered furniture) and children specific products. While the public’s awareness of chemicals in our everyday products and the expectation of safe products are increasing, this discussion platform is critical for bringing sound scientific practices and professional expertise as we work together to enhance the safety of consumer and products.

To further understand pathways for the safety convergence of flammability protection and the prevention of hazardous chemical exposures, UL partnered with the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, and industry leaders to conduct chemical exposure and flammability research on upholstered furniture. Our goal for the Furniture Flammability and Human Health Summit, which takes place Dec. 12-14, 2017, in Atlanta, is to bring stakeholders together to review the latest science and policy updates on this topic, including the UL research results; enable an open, honest and respectful dialogue among key stakeholders; and further develop the pathway to chemical and fire-safe products.

Key objectives of this year’s summit include: 

  • Review most current fire statistics of injuries and deaths in the US and EU.
  • Establish most current knowledge of acute and chronic health impacts of flame retardants used in furniture and consumer products, as related to children and general consumer exposure.
  • Review the latest research on chemical exposure risks to firefighters and potential links to flame retardants, other chemicals and byproducts for combustion.
  • Establish an understanding of most current flammability codes and safety standards for upholstered furniture and how they are addressing flame retardants, chemical exposure, and fire protection.
  • Review fire characteristics of products and their impact on building fires and emerging needs for performance verification.
  • Review the latest research and developments in flame retardant chemistries and the feasibility of alternative technologies and safer chemicals with consideration of applications to components, finished products, and manufacturing processes.
  • Identify pathways in research, product development, manufacturing and verification processes for converging the fire and chemical safety requirements of furniture for today’s market.

A written Proceedings of the Summit presentations and discussions will be released following the event.

The preliminary agenda for the event is now available.