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Regulatory issues and flame retardant usage in upholstered furniture in Europe


Accidental fires in dwellings are responsible for over ten thousand injuries and more than 460 deaths every year in France. Many of these fires involve upholstered furniture. Within Europe, the regulations for such furniture vary considerably between countries and applications. The European Commission addresses this issue in the EU General Products Safety Directive. In some cases, the introduction of such regulations implies usage of flame-retardants in the fabric or foam of the furniture. The incorporation of flame retardants has the benefits of improving reaction to fire properties and reducing the fire hazard due to fire spread and heat release, but might also increase the toxicity of the fire emissions or introduce other risks due to the chemicals themselves.

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