There is evidence that many in industry have always known these Regulations do not work, and all of them have known for sure since 2014 when the government published the evidence. What has been their response? - to deny, block, evade, lie and carry on raking in the cash.
All of which would be bad enough if it only involved money. But these Regulations in their current state mean that UK homes contain the highest volumes of flame retardant chemicals in the world. But they're safe, said Mr Kannah of the flame retardant industry to the EAC recently. When it was pointed out to him that flame retardants are often banned for being toxic he said they were working hard to make them safer. Meanwhile, millions of sofas and mattresses in the UK still contain the poisonous decaBDE, a now-banned brominated flame retardant which adds nothing at all to fire safety but certainly adds to toxicity and ill health.
What is the true mentality of the industry? It can be seen, for example, in the fact that they were told several years back by government lawyers that it is illegal and dangerous to be treating sofas with stain-repellent sprays. These often make sofas flammable again and can react with flame retardants to produce highly toxic fumes and dust. When I told a journalist this he was stunned. "So, you're telling me," he said, "that we pay more for our sofas because they contain flame retardant chemicals to supposedly make them flame resistant, then we pay more again to have them treated with stain repellent that makes them flammable again?"
He was right. And guess what: they're still persuading customers to pay extra for stain-repellent chemical treatments.
Then there's the perhaps somewhat ironic practice of undertreatment. This involves a textile manufacturer treating a roll of fabric properly with flame retardant chemicals – the "golden roll" as it's known in the business – and having it tested to the Furniture Regulations' requirements. But the fabric that's actually sold to manufacturers is under-treated, with everyone in the chain profiting nicely. Trading Standards found that around 80% of furniture fabrics on finished products fail the main ignition test because of this. You might think that's good because it means less flame retardants, doesn't it? Perhaps but it also proves the lie that these chemicals are needed to make your furniture fire-safe (that and the fact that the damn stuff wears off so easily anyway). And your home and blood will still be infected with large volumes of chemical dust – flame retardants and mixer chemicals which no one outside of the chemical treatment industry even knows the identity of. And the chemical, treatment and furniture industries will be profiting hugely from duping you into in effect paying for something you aren't getting.
Speaking of the chemical treatment industry, their representative organisation, FRETWORK, has made two written submissions to the EAC. Both were written by Peter Wragg. Mr Wragg has been involved throughout the ongoing review of the Furniture Regulations – ten years and counting now. However, he appears to have somehow completely avoided seeing all the evidence produced in that process to prove the current regulations are not fit for purpose. I'm sure the fact that if they're put right it would lead to the treatment industry taking a massive hit in profits has nothing to do with his continuing assertion that the regs are just fine as they are.
Mr Wragg makes a very nice living from chemicals. Most of the time, he is not required to defend the darker side of the negative effects they can have on health and the environment. When he is, he tends to react with condescending opinions presented as solid facts which he himself sometimes calls 'rants'.
See for yourself. Below is a link to Mr Wragg's first submission to the EAC. I've gone through it in detail since I think it is worth exposing the fact that his members are in effect poisoning the entire country by treating (or undertreating) fabrics for regulations that do not work for no good reason other than profit. Sorry, that's remiss of me; I should have pointed out that Mr Wragg provides ample proof that the regulations work – see his "Case of the Pink Cushion' – really, I'm not making it up (he is).
FRETWORK submission with my comments here.