Kaiser to stop buying flame-retardant furniture

Kaiser Permanente will stop buying furniture with flame retardants because of the potentially harmful chemicals they may contain - the first health system in the country to adopt such a measure.

The California-based Kaiser, with 19 Medical facilities and 7 administrative buildings in Maryland, said that its new and remodeled buildings will follow the new standard when buying furniture.

The decision could affect more than 38 hospitals and 600 medical offices in eight states and Washington, D.C. Kaiser spends about $30 million a year to furnish its facilities.

The decision follows a recent move by the State of California, which updated its flammability standard for upholstered furniture. The new rules state that furniture manufacturers are no longer required to use fire retardant chemicals, which studies show provide no significant benefit to the fire safety performance of furniture.

Chemicals used as flame retardants have been linked to reproductive problems, developmental delays and cancer, among other health problems, Kaiser said. Concern over the health impacts to children, pregnant women and the general public has been growing in recent years, as scientific studies have documented the dangers of exposure.

Because of incorrect information provided to The Sun, a blog post incorrectly reported the number of medical facilities that Kaiser Permanente has in Maryland. The health system has 19 medical centers and 7 administrative facilities.

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