London -- Industry responses to the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skill (BIS) consultation over furniture foam flammability regulations began to emerge in the days after a recent meeting.
As previously reported at UTECH-polyurethane.com, BIS aims to reduce the use of flame retardants in UK furniture and alter the test method used to determine a fabric's flammability. The department is inviting businesses to comment as part of a consultation that will run until 6 October.
One UK furniture manufacturer issued the following statement: "The consultation to regulation amendments have been introduced at a time when the industry as a whole is on annual shut downs and the supply chains that fed them from Europe are also on extended leave giving little time to react by the 6 October deadline.
"The implications of the changes are slowly filtering through but the fact that there has not been a specific test for items that are now included within the regulations again gives no real time to respond correctly on a factual basis.
"The cost savings that are being mooted are, on our calculations, completely flawed as the FR savings appear to be based on both the FR process and application of FR chemicals. The process still has to take place irrespective of the volume of chemical being applied. From our quickly assembled data from our suppliers, the savings would be approximately be a third of the stated amounts. This will then be completely wiped out by the additional cost of using treated sub components.
"We are definitely in favour of ensuring that the FR is a priority in the UK market and we conform to all legislation and are strategic partners with Trading Standards who have commented that we perform at a level well above the legislated requirements. What we are not in favour of are the assumptions being made and the methods being employed to force a highly politically motivated issue through before the next Election.
"It appears that this standard will state what you cannot do but has not had the forethought to come up with any solutions. We are concerned that this will make the situation worse rather than the stated aim of improvement," it concluded.