Question from Lisa
I contacted IKEA about an article I read but I don’t fully know what to make of the response. I read an article about IKEA intending to phase out flame retardants by 2010. Did this happen? What were they replaced with? Do you have any furniture without polyurethane foam, if so what do they contain?
Thank you for taking the time to write us.
All mattresses sold in the US have to meet regulatory fire retardant standards. IKEA uses organic phosphorous/nitrogen containing compounds in its flame retardants for most of our mattress product range and phased out all chlorinated tris flame retardants from our mattresses in 2010. IKEA also banned the use of the brominated flame retardant PBDE in 1998. None of our mattresses contain this chemical.
However, our MORGONGAVA and SULTAN HEGGEDAL natural material spring mattress does not contain any flame retardants. This mattress is manufactured using natural wool wadding, which allows it to exceed all regulatory flame retardant standards and be fully compliant with California TB117.
Also, all mattresses are tested for chemicals to ensure that they meet the strictest standards for the countries in which they are sold. This includes our TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compounds) test on all finished products to insure that there are no harmful emissions or off-gassing.
Each state does have its own “fire rating” regarding flame retardants. There is a law label attached to each of our upholstery products for you to compare. In seating furniture and cushions the foam is treated with chemical flame retardant (phosphate ester basis) in order to comply with North American fire protection requirements and TB117.
California Technical Bulletin 117, a mandatory standard, is both an open flame test and a smoldering cigarette test for the component materials used to make residential upholstered furniture which is to be sold in the state of California. In this test, each upholstery component except the covering fabric is time exposed to either an open flame or a smoldering cigarette in a defined test chamber, and the propagation of the open flame or the cigarette char length is measured to a specific specification criteria contained in Technical Bulletin 117. All upholstered furniture components except frames must comply with this test procedure and criteria.
Today, all IKEA furniture complies with existing regulatory standards in the US, including California TB117. IKEA welcomes the new TB117-2013, which will allow us to manufacture upholstery products that meet the fire safety standard without the addition of chemical flame retardants.
As with any change in legislation or standards concerning our range, IKEA conducts evaluation, adjustments and testing of our products according to new requirements. Affected IKEA products will be in compliance with the requirements in the new California TB117-2013 Standard on January 1st 2015 at the latest.
Further details regarding IKEA’s commitment to product safety can be explored at the following online link:
All IKEA upholstery materials pass these fire safety standards, but these are not the same as commercial standards. Commercial standards are set by BIFMA (Business Industry Furniture Manufacture Association).
We do hope this information has been helpful, and we thank you for your inquiry.
IKEA Customer Care
IKEA US Contact Center
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Is it just me or did they not directly answer my question? Can you make sense of this. Are they saying that they understand they no longer have to use fire retardants but they will continue? Maybe I am just tired and distracted but it seems odd language and not a direction address of the question.
Thank you for your time.
I can see how this can be confusing.
OK. Here are your questions and I will pull out their answers and paste them in.
* I read an article about IKEA intending to phase out flame retardants by 2010. Did this happen?
“IKEA…phased out all chlorinated tris flame retardants from our mattresses in 2010. IKEA also banned the use of the brominated flame retardant PBDE in 1998.”
* What were they replaced with?
“IKEA uses organic phosphorous/nitrogen containing compounds in its flame retardants for most of our mattress product range.”
* Do you have any furniture without polyurethane foam, if so what do they contain?
They didn’t answer this question.