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Furniture: Fire Resistant Materials

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 24th September 2018.

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Photo of The Countess of Mar The Countess of Mar Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to warn the public (1) about sofas and mattresses that contain the toxic flame-retardant chemical DecaBDE, (2) that these items are unsuitable for recycling; and (3) that they should be disposed of safely.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The UK ceased production of decaBDE in 1996 and its use has declined sharply since then. Many other countries have also phased out its use, thanks to proactive lobbying by the UK government.

It will be banned under the UN Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants in December this year and under the European chemical regulation regime, REACH, in March next year. It will not be present in household soft furnishings and mattresses offered for sale once the ban comes into effect.

We are working with stakeholders and experts to determine the likely extent of decaBDE in older soft furnishings and assessing the best disposal routes to protect the environment and human health.

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