What Is the Design for the

Environment Program?
EPA's Design for the
Environment (DfE) Program
is one of EPA's most effec-
tive, results-oriented volun-
tary programs. It champions
risk reduction through pol-
lution prevention and bases its "license to
operate" on applying Agency expertise and
technical tools.

Designing for the environment is incorpo-
rating environmental considerations into
business decision making. The EPA DfE
program collaborates with industry sectors
to help businesses design or redesign prod-
ucts, processes and management systems
that are cleaner, more cost-effective, and
safer for the worker and the public.
                                                                                                                                United States
                                                                                                                                Environmental Protection


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                                              Environmentally Preferable
                                              Approaches for Achieving
                                               Furniture  Fire
                                       Safety  Standards

Approaches for
Achieving  Furniture
Fire Safety  Standards

        This project is a partnership
        between the U.S. Environmental
        Protection Agency's Design for
the Environment (DfE) Program and the
following stakeholders: the American Fire
Safety Council (AFSC), the American
Furniture Manufacturers Association
(AFMA), the Business and Institutional
Furniture Manufacturers Association
(BIFMA), the Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC), and GreenBlue. The
partnership will iden-
tify environmentally
sound solutions for
meeting current and
future furniture fire
safety requirements.
What Are the Project  Goals

and Activities?
The partners in this project have identified short'
term and long-term goals to facilitate and inform
industry decision making on environmentally
sound solutions to fire safety.
Short-term Goal
• Provide up-to-date information on flame retar-
  dants used in foam and fabric, focusing initially
  on alternatives to pentabromodiphenyl ether
  (pentaBDE), which is commonly used in foam,
  and secondly on flame retardants used in textiles.
Long'term Goals
• Identify environmentally preferable approaches
  for designing furniture that meets fire safety
• Develop toxicological information on
  flame-retardant chemicals to affirm short-term
Key Activities
Green Chemistry Approaches
• Identify and evaluate existing chemical
  substitutes for foam and fabric flame retardants.
  May also look at batting and other filling
  materials as appropriate.
• Target research needs to encourage the design
  and development of environmentally preferable
  flame retardant technologies.
Green Engineering Approaches
• Investigate barrier technologies and alternative
  construction techniques.
• Investigate alternative formulation of foams.
• Develop a targeted DfE innovation challenge to
  identify chemical and non-chemical solutions.
The partnership will look not only at ways
chemicals can help prevent fires, but also at
inherently flame-retardant  materials and
designs. Cost, functionality, environmental/
human health, and fire safety attributes will be
factored in.

Why is  the Partnership
Needed Now?

The U.S. furniture industry needs more infor-
mation on the environmental profile of flame
retardant chemicals to move toward the use of
environmentally preferable flame retardants.
PentaBDE has been the primary flame retardant
for foam in residential furniture in the U.S.
This chemical saves lives, but there is growing
concern over its environmental effects. In
response, the sole U.S. manufacturer of
pentaBDE is voluntarily phasing out production
by December 31, 2004.
At the same time, the need for reliable cost-
effective flame retardant chemicals and flame
retardancy methods is increasing in response to
revised California laws or a potential federal
flammability standard.
This partnership will provide manufacturers
with information on existing and emerging
flame  retardants and set criteria to influence
the future design of flame retardants.
  AFMA understands and supports the long-
range nature of this project and encourages EPA
to remain engaged with private sector stakehold-
ers to develop environmentally sound solutions
to fire safety.

   —American Furniture Manufacturers Association
  BIFMA is committed to promoting sustainable
work environments and business practices
based on sound economics, environmental
protection, and social responsibility.

                    —Business and Institutional
             Furniture Manufacturers Association
  AFSC is committed to improving fire safety
standards and saving lives...We expect this
partnership to lead to the implementation of
safe and environmentally sound approaches
to fire safety.

                —American Fire Safety Council
  GreenBlue is attracted to this partnership
because of the rare opportunity to reconceive
design criteria for flame retardant products.