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Interest in the safety of chemicals in furniture was brought into the spotlight this year by the UK Government. The Environmental Audit Committee’s report on Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Life was published in July 2019 and this wide-ranging report created attention to the topic and generated media coverage.

At Vita, we welcome this debate and recognise our responsibility to maintain safe and proper chemical selection and use, on behalf of our customers. We work to improve the chemical profile of our products and see it as an integral part of our service – we take care of the chemistry, so our customers don’t have to.

To help understand how Vita in the UK has considered and addressed these issues, we spoke to Technical & Manufacturing Manager Julie Walker. Here is her summary:

Vita was active in the consultation process ahead of publication of the EAC report 1 and we are aware of our responsibility to deliver safe products with consideration to our environment. Our leading research and development capabilities, as well as quality assurance procedures, mean that we can provide the following reassurance to our customers about the chemicals used in our products. We can confirm that none of our polyurethane foam products contain the following types of chemicals:

  • Bisphenols,
  • Parabens,
  • Perfluorinated chemicals,
  • Phthalates,
  • Brominated chemicals, including brominated flame retardants,
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (as listed, or being considered for inclusion, in the Stockholm Convention), and

Furthermore, our products are certified by the CertiPUR scheme – which sets strict limits on permissible levels of volatile organic compounds, including formaldehyde.2

Our standard product ranges into the furniture and adult bedding markets contain a chlorinated organophosphate flame retardant called tris (2-chloro-1-methylethyl) phosphate, commonly referred to as TCPP.  This has been one of the standard flame retardants used in flexible polyurethane furniture foam for decades.  All Vita nursery grade foams, however, have been free from TCPP since the 1990s.3

We have not waited for any potential changes in regulation and have followed our values in developing a range of Combustion Modified Ether (CME) foam products formulated without TCPP – our FRee foam range. We believe we are first to market with non-TCPP containing CME products to cost-competitively meet the needs of the furniture and bedding sectors.  The foams in our FRee foam range achieve the high standards of fire safety required by UK and Irish regulations, without compromising on technical performance or chemical safety.

References

  1. For the report published by the EAC as well as the written evidence Vitafoam submitted to the inquiry (dated 19 March 2019) see https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/toxic-chemicals-in-everyday-life-17-19/publications/
  2. http://www.vitafoam.co.uk/downloads/quality-environmental-certificates. CertiPUR limits formaldehyde emissions to 10 µg/m3, and overall VOC emissions to 500 µg/m3.
  3. TCPP hadn’t previously been removed from other foams because it is was only technically and economically possible for relatively high-density Combustion Modified High Resilient (CMHR) foams – such as used in nursery products but not widely in furniture or adult bedding.

Posted 1st August 2019

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