Niche Interiors

Healthy Sofa, Healthy Home

healthy homes san francisco bay area green design

I’m excited to share the inside scoop from last week’s Healthy Homes Conference sponsored by Build it Green and PG&E. We’re huge fans of Arlene Blum, the biophysical chemist who was largely responsible for eliminating the flame retardant requirement in California’s new standard for upholstered furniture (Read more about TB117-2013 on our blog post here.) It was an honor to meet her and hear the latest on the fight to remove harmful flame retardants from our sofas.


I learned some interesting facts about the specific chemicals used in flame retardants, all of which were very alarming. Did you know that PentaBDE is one of only 23 chemicals that is banned GLOBALLY? It’s effects on animals exposed include endocrine disruption, neurodevelopmental problems, lower IQ, and cancer.

The good news: Furniture manufacturers are starting to make the switch to foam without flame retardants. A few big box stores will be phasing in healthier foam starting July 1st. Be sure to look for the “TB117-2013” tag and to confirm with a sales rep that the foam doesn’t contain flame retardants (they are not banned from furniture, just no longer required).

eco friendly non toxic sofa san francisco

Ready to make a change? The Green Science Policy Institute has a fantastic program called the “Safer Sofa Foam Exchange”. Take your existing foam inserts which contain flame retardants (purchased anytime between 1978 and 2013) and exchange them for new, healthier foam for roughly $50 per cushion. The old foam will be used for testing and research by the Green Science Policy Institute to help determine the safest way to dispose of these chemicals, many of which have long half-lives and remain in the environment for decades. Participating locations include Foam Order in San Francisco, The Foam Store of Marin, Foam and Cushion in Concord, and Kay Chesterfield Company in Oakland.

Interested in a 100% green, non-toxic sofa? Contact us to learn more about our custom, locally made sofas fabricated from natural latex foam wrapped in organic wool.

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