In 2019, the Irish Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation decided to launch a review of the Irish Furniture Fire Regulations as part of its consumer safety agenda.
The Irish Regulations are very similar to the British Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.
EFIC REPLY TO THE PUBLIC CONSULTATION IN IRELAND
« From the European Furniture Industries Confederation perspective, there is no added benefit in using toxic flame-retardant chemicals in furniture. On the contrary, the adverse effects provoked by their presence in consumers’ products are fully proven by a consistent number of international scientists.
There are clear problematic issues in relation the use of flame retardants. In the first place, many flame retardants have adverse consequences on human health and the environment. The use of flame retardants in furniture reduces the quality of furniture foam and textiles and increases their prices. From a fire safety perspective, a number of studies have found that flame retardants can increase fire toxicity during fire.
Therefore, with regard to fire prevention, there is no clear evidence of the fire safety benefit provided by more stringent furniture flammability regulations.
In this context, EFIC proposes a smoulder ignition test to be used in Ireland, leading to the removal of open flame tests for furniture products as they (indirectly) require the use of flame-retardant chemicals to achieve compliance. The cigarette test (EN 1021-1) is a more suitable test to ensure fire safety for upholstered furniture and to increase protection from potentially hazardous chemicals.
For the reasons above, EFIC believes that the Irish Furniture Safety Regulations should be amended and advise for the adoption of the cigarette test as test method. Such change in the Regulation would also align Ireland with the rest of EU, removing an existing barrier to trade in the EU Single Market. »