Chlorinated organophosphate and “legacy” brominated flame retardants in UK waste soft furnishings: a preliminary study

William A. Stubbings*, Daniel S. Drage, Stuart Harrad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
184 Downloads (Pure)


The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 is the major driver for the use of chemical flame retardants (FRs) in soft furnishings marketed in the UK. While these regulations specify the level of flame retardancy required, they do not specify how such levels should be achieved. Consequently, it remains unclear which FRs are present in UK soft furnishings. This is important not only to help assess what FRs we may be exposed to currently, but which FRs are currently entering the waste stream with concomitant potential for release into the environment. To address this data gap, concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) and a range of chlorinated organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs) were measured in samples of domestic and office waste soft furnishings products entering the UK waste stream in 2011 and 2012. This preliminary study measured the FR content of: carpets (n = 4), curtains (n = 7), mattress fabrics (n = 2), furniture foam (n = 9), and furniture upholstery textiles (n = 10). Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) were not found at significant concentrations (below detection limits in most samples) in any of the twenty two analysed products. In contrast, 7 of the 9 furniture foam samples were treated with tris(2-chloroisopropyl)phosphate (TCIPP) at a mean concentration of 1.9% w/w, with another single foam sample containing tris(1,3-dichloroisopropyl)phosphate (TDCIPP) and tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (TCEP) at 1.1 and 0.5% respectively. By comparison, PBDE concentrations are within the range reported previously for UK indoor dust [18], rather than the percent by weight levels required to impart flame retardancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-190
Number of pages6
JournalEmerging Contaminants
Issue number4
Early online date8 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Hexabromocyclododecane
  • PBDEs
  • Tris(2-chloroisopropyl)phosphate
  • Waste furniture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Toxicology


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