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Major Health Care Provider Vows To Only Buy Toxic-Free Furniture


Kaiser Permanente says its new facilities will not have upholstered furniture with flame retardant chemicals. A variety of studies have found the chemicals can be toxic… They’re linked to cancer, brain disorders and fertility problems.

Judy Levin of the Center for Environmental Health says the health provider’s decision is part of a shift to more chemical-free furniture.

“We think it sends a very strong signal, and that manufacturers will definitely be moved by that.”

The State of California recently changed its flammability standards. But Levin says consumers may want to get more information about furniture they buy for their homes.

“California’s new standard allows manufacturers to produce furniture without the use of flame retardant chemicals, but it doesn’t prohibit their use. And therefore consumers won’t have any other way to knw if flame retardants are used in their products, unless it’s labeled.”

Kaiser Permanente spends about $30 million dollars a year to furnish hundreds of medical offices and hospitals in eight states.

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Southern California's updated Fontana Medical Center, opened in 2013, features furniture and fixtures that use fewer toxic chemicals. / Kaiser Permanente

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