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Facebook, Staples Pledge To Buy Furniture Without Flame Retardants

If you’re reading this post while at work, the chance that the chair you’re sitting on could soon be made without toxic flame retardants is getting better. That’s because more workplaces are choosing to protect their workers’ health by buying furniture without toxic flame retardants and more furniture companies are recognizing safer products are good for business.

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) announced last week that big name companies like Facebook, Staples, and Kaiser Permanente, along with governments, like the City of Portland, have pledged to give preference to buying office furniture made without flame retardants. Collectively, these purchasers buy over $520 million of office furniture annually.

That’s a lot of furniture. But office furniture makers are filling the demand. According to a survey by CEH and HDR Architecture, the market continues to move away from toxic flame retardants as office furniture companies are meeting fire safety requirements without them. You can see the list of companies and workplaces here.

These companies have smartly recognized that offering safer chemicals and products is good for business. It’s a trend echoed in a new UN report on safer chemicals in business. The report found that businesses that are proactive in assessing and moving to safer chemicals “reap the rewards of their efforts” by saving money in fines, avoiding product recalls, and being able to respond more quickly to changing consumer demand.

So, as the demand for safer products continues to rise and businesses see far more upsides to making products safer, more and more workplaces and furniture manufacturers will make the switch. The movement for toxic-free fire safety marches on and is only getting bigger.  That’s because it just makes sense.