Green: Upholstered Furniture with no Flame Retardant Chemicals

Environmental & Health Information

Many flame retardant chemicals persist in the environment, accumulate in our bodies and the bodies of animals, and have been shown to cause adverse developmental effects. Scientists have identified flame retardant chemicals as associated with a variety of human health issues such as:

  • Cancer
  • Lowering IQ and disrupting brain development,  learning, memory and attention 
  • Reproductive issues and reduced sperm quality
  • Attention deficit problems
  • Disrupting thyroid function

Info on this product category: Furniture

Why Go Green

For furniture listed above as "greenest," manufacturers self-reported that their products can be made with:

- None of these five "hazardous handful" toxic chemicals:

  1. Antimicrobial chemicals because they can make bacteria resistant to antibiotics and disrupt our hormones.  

  2. Flame retardant chemicals because they do little, if anything, to slow or prevent fire. They migrate out of products and escape into our air, dust and our bodies. And they’re associated with cancer, lower intelligence quotient (IQ), and reproductive harm.

  3. Formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Formaldehyde is known to cause cancer, yet it is in adhesives found in wood furniture. 

  4. Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) because they are associated with cancer, high cholesterol and obesity.  They have been found to migrate out of products and get into our air, dust, water and bodies.

  5. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) because it usually has phthalates (some of which disrupt our hormones and probably causes cancer), and sometimes it has lead (which can cause reproductive problems and nerve disorders), and when PVC is made or disposed, it releases cancer-causing dioxins.

- No hexavalent and trivalent chromium or heavy metals.

- Textiles that do not have the five "hazardous handful" toxic chemicals above, or are certified by GOTS, Oeko-Tex 100, STeP, or Cradle to Cradle.

See the "Criteria" section below for how "greener" and "green" furniture at the top section of this page meet some of the health and environmental criteria above.

Criteria for Furniture

Last updated

Last updated: 
December 23, 2019

Guide for City Staff

Citywide Contract

Write a Review

Log in or register to post reviews