Healthier Living, One Sofa at a Time:
We ARE California Compliant; Our Commitment to Safety and Quality
At Endicott Home Furnishings, we created Condo Sofa*, a line of smaller, customizable, high quality seating specifically for smaller spaces. We also order many larger scale furniture styles, but our customers needed smaller scale furniture to go into smaller homes. Since 2012, we have been working with our partners in maufacturing in North Carolina without toxic chemical flame retardants.
We regularly alter our Condo Sofa designs to accommodate a space, create a look, or fit a person's body (i.e. make sure the hips stay above knees, reduce seat depth for customers that need two feet on the floor with simultaneous strong lumbar support). While ergonomic fitting is best done in our store, we will add a skirt, modify cushions, or make a special size for remote or local consumers.
Our older child is about the age of our business, nearly 11. When asked, locals told us they could not find smaller furniture that fit their bodies. We couldn't, either, so we set out to create such a line with our best supplier. As we designed and created furniture to meet the needs of our local consumers, we learned about partial substitutes of soy for polyurethane in the seat cushions, "greener" frame designs, recycled components in arms and in back cushions, and implemented these in our designs. However, it was very difficult to find alternatives to the pervasive flame retardants in foam seat cores. Years of inquiries to suppliers led to the same answers about how the "bad stuff" is out, "...now we have this great new California compliant cushion". So, it has to have flame retardants in it. Unless we could procure ZERO flame retardant seat cushions of at least the same quality for no greater cost, we were not willing to make changes. Persistence payds off: we finally succeeded.
Because the 11% or so (by weight) flame retardants in most seat cushions is not flexible nor resilient, removing them makes a much stronger, better performing seat cushion. Zero flame retardant seat cores are firmer, should last much longer, provide more uniform and robust support (and may allow us to live longer, too: eliminating pounds of known carcinogens per sofa cushion can't be a bad idea).
We have since replaced all seat cores with premium quality polyurethane foam without chemical flame retardants. The remaining areas of the sofa have all been changed to the same zero flame retardant foam by the end of 2012. The materials we use were tested by the lab researchers working with Dr. Heather Stapleton at Duke University, and in early June 2013 we learned confirmed none of the materials we use has any chemical flame retardant chemicals. Dr. Stapleton responded to our question about whether consumers should be concerned about polyurethane foam cushions by saying that the higher quality foam, like that we have always used, is not what people should be concerned about.
It is inferior quality materials with added materials like urea formaldehyde and toluene that are of greater concern. Often it's obvious to sensitive consumers as soon as they walk into price-focused retail stores full of inexpensive, imported furniture. It's these emissions from furniture made with inferior quality materials and additives like synthetic, carcinogenic forms of formaldehyde used in glues, resins, and finishes that cause eyes to itch and water, respiratory irritation and inflammation.
We were temporarily incompatible with California law when we had removed all chemical flame retardants, before Governor Brown signed TB 117-2013 into effect. This new TB 117-2013 does not ban chemical flame retardants for 2014, but permits zero flame retardant construction, provided there are certain materials which act as smolder barriers in the construction. We already have such barriers in our designs and have always used them, so we sent materials to be tested for compliance, and received results by US Mail on December 30, 2013, showing we are not only compliant with the TB117-2013 law just signed - we are also compliant with the 2105 law that would have banned chemical flame retardants in residential home furnishings.
UPDATE: We had expected the 2015 phase-in of the legislation in CA to eradicate the use of flame retardants with an outright ban, but that never materialized. It is at least no longer required in home furishings for sale in CA, but sadly, the measure fall short of outlawing the use of chemical flame retardants in home furnishings.
We are very committed to high quality and sensible pricing. We will continue to identify and replace components as less toxic substitutes become available, always balancing the affordability of the end result with the benefits of providing quality materials at the best prices we can. Making furniture to some alturistic standard that makes it unaffordable for thrifty Mainers and people everywhere won't help anyone.
Please email questions to Ross@condofurniture.com
Thanks and best regards,
*Condo Sofa is a line of furniture made without chemical flame retardants created by Ross Endicott, designed in Maine and individually bench crafted in North Corolina, USA using materials with no flame retardants - all rights reserved