Couches without Flame Retardant
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When Nick and I got married and moved in together, we just kind of meshed our belongings. Sure, we got a new bed, bedspread, dishes, etc, but something we didn’t really do was purge our furniture. To be clear, Nick didn’t really purge anything. LOL. He waited until the last minute to move his stuff in and we were in such a rush, we just had to move all of it. Let’s just say he hadn’t moved or gotten rid of anything in 3ish years, so it was kind of a nightmare.
Anyway, we ended up getting rid of my couches and just used his leather sofa and love seat instead. We knew we wanted to get new sofas eventually, but were just putting it off until we decided to move out of our current location. Well… we haven’t moved out of our first apartment, but our decision to get a new couch got fast forwarded a bit, when Dino decided to pee on the couch.
We got Dino last summer and let me preface this by saying we love him to death. See how tiny he was here! Let me also start by saying we should never have let him on the couch. He was just so cute and we couldn’t say no! One day when he was less than 6 months old, he peed on the couch. We tried to clean it up as best we could, but neither of us really wanted to sit on that cushion, annnnd we would get a whiff of it every now and again. Later we learned that the urine had gone through the couch onto the floor and that is what we were smelling… hah! The next time he peed it still was kind of our fault. We tried to see if we could leave his crate open during the night and failed. He started whining around 4:30 am, but he was past the age of needing to go out that early, so we thought we were okay. Later we re-wound the camera (we have 2 pet cameras) to find that he stared right at it and popped a squat on the couch. If we would have let him out / knew he actually needed to go, it could have been prevented. We tried to keep the couch after that, but just couldn’t do it. Sooo we literally threw it off our back balcony and brought it to the dumpster. Since then we have been living life with literally just a love seat. Super awkward when people come over because all we have to offer are hard dining chairs, but it’s about who you are with, right?!
We finally got fed up with our seating situation and decided it was time to purchase a new couch. Because of my background in apparel and textiles, I was aware of the old requirements of couches, but wanted to research it a little more before buying. In the 70’s, smoking was a main stream culture thing. Everyone was doing it. The problem? Everyone was doing it everywhere, including their couches! People would often fall asleep with a lit cigarette, so California legislation took matters into their own hands. In 1975 they mandated that couches (among other things) be flame retardant in order to be sold. At the time, most furniture was coming from California, so that meant all sofas made their way across the U.S. with harmful, yet flame blocking chemicals. As of 2014, this law has been changed, but when something has been an industry standard for almost 40 years 1) you’re still going to find product that has these chemicals and 2) a lot of companies will go on producing like they always have. Why change?
There are a lot of companies out there now that don’t produce with flame retardant anymore, but just because they don’t have those chemicals doesn’t mean they don’t have other harmful chemicals. Let’s be real for a second. A lot of stuff including clothing, mattresses, and more have harmful chemicals in them. As much as I’d love to have all organic everything, it isn’t always possible. We try to make great choices where we can and not freak out about things we may not be able to change. Nick and I use our couch a lot, so we wanted to do as best we could for our lifestyle, within budget.
When you’re looking for a couch, there are things to consider besides just how cute and comfy it is. I know, so annoying ;) Here are 4 things to consider besides the general sustainability of the product/company:
Base - What is the frame made of? Hardwood or synthetic? What is the finish on them? Is it a toxic stain? In a perfect world they would be kiln dried hardwood that was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Here’s an article I liked that explains why this is best.
Filling - What do they stuff it with? Ideally it is should have 100% natural filling. Organic cotton, wool or down work, as does latex foam.
Glue - This can put off toxic fumes. Look for water based and / or low volatile organic compounds. High VOC glues can cause respiratory problems and affect the ozone layer.
Fabric - Is it organic? What is it treated with? Does it have flame retardant on it?
So which companies does that leave you with once you consider all of these stipulations?
ABC Home - Modern, clean and sustainable furniture. No flame retardants here!!
Crate and Barrel - They have said they don’t use flame retardants on their couches.
La-Z-Boy - They have said they don’t use flame retardants on their couches.
Medley (formerly Stem) - To be honest, they feel like the restoration hardware of the non-toxic sofa world. No flame retardants here!
Pottery Barn - They have said they don’t use flame retardants on their couches.
Pure Upholstery - 100% natural and lots of options. Of course no flame retardants either.
Savvy Rest - Not as up to date silhouette wise, but an amazing non-toxic couch for any home! No flame retardants of course ;)
West Elm - They have said they don’t use flame retardants on their couches.
Do you have a favorite non-toxic spectrum couch that I missed? Or one that is a step in the right direction with no flame retardants? Let me know! Our homes are often the most toxic place we can be with all of the fumes like candles, fragrance and such. Keep it as clean as you can and you’ll be good! Side note - I tried to do my do diligence in researching, but things are always changing, so be sure to look into these options for yourself!
Stay tuned, because my next blog post will tell you which couch we ended up purchasing!
P.S. If you like this post you’ll probably enjoy these:
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