News Brief

California Law Bans Future Flame Retardants

By prohibiting whole classes of chemicals, the legislation aims to reduce regrettable substitutions.

Photo of an upholstered couch

Upholstered furniture, mattresses, and children’s items are covered under the new law.

Photo: Design Folly. License: CC BY-SA 2.0.

It’s a familiar story: a toxic substance gets phased out, only to be replaced with a chemically similar one that has the same toxic properties. An amendment to existing California law aims to stop this pattern of “regrettable substitution” by effectively banning whole classes of flame retardants in upholstered furniture, mattresses, and children’s products.

The covered classes—halogenated, organophosphorous, organonitrogen, and nanoscale flame retardants—may not be present in the product in concentrations above 1,000 parts per million. By prohibiting entire classes of chemicals, the law has the unprecedented effect of banning future flame retardants that may be developed.

“The State of California has found that flame retardant chemicals are not needed to provide fire safety,” the original law reads. The amendment goes into effect in January 2020.

More on flame retardants in furniture

Finding Furniture Without Toxic Flame Retardants

Ekla’s Natural Latex Couch Is Flame Retardant-Free

Healthcare Giants Boycott Furniture Containing Flame Retardants

For more information:

California Legislature

Published November 5, 2018

Melton, P. (2018, November 5). California Law Bans Future Flame Retardants. Retrieved from

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a BuildingGreen Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.