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Furniture & Appliances

All Other Furniture

Carpet and flooring

Use
Hard-surface floors
Short plush, flat, and level loop carpets

Hard-surface floors are easier to clean than carpet. They can help reduce children's exposures to toxic chemicals that stick to house dust. Carpets are great for cozy play areas and for cushioning falls, but stick to non-plush carpets, to help cut the dust load.

Don't Use
Deep plush and shag carpets

Carpets are magnets for dirt and the pollutants that stick to it. Deep plush and shag carpets are the most difficult to clean.

Upholstered furniture

Use
"No added flame retardants" label
Free foam sample test

Choose your couches and chairs from this master list of retailers and manufacturers who have reported that they make and sell flame-retardant free products (source: NRDC, Safer Sofa Foam Exchange, Center for Environmental Health, and Mind the Store).

If you’re buying new furniture, check the label. Look for the words "contains NO added flame retardant chemicals." And test the foam in the furniture you have now - free of charge - by sending a sample to Duke University.

Don't Use
"Contains added flame retardant chemicals" on the label

For the past 40 years the furniture industry has added flame retardants to couches, sofas and chairs. The chemicals migrate into house dust, pollute breast milk and cord blood, and disrupt a baby’s brain development. To top it off, they are now known to be ineffective at protecting families from fire.

To know if a piece of furniture contains flame retardants, check the label. You’ll find it under the cushions or on the underside of the furniture. Avoid furniture labeled as “Contains added flame retardant chemicals.” Some labels aren’t as explicit. Furniture labeled as meeting “TB117” flammability standards almost certainly contains flame retardants. If it’s labeled as meeting “TB117-2013” standards, it may or may not contain the additives. If you don’t see an additional claim -- “contains NO added flame retardant chemicals” – you should assume it contains them. See more at NRDC's label guide.

Vinyl floors

Use
Vinyl floors free of phthalates
Clean hands
Linoleum, FSC-certified wood, bamboo, cork

When our partners at healthystuff.org tested vinyl floors, they found that over half of the brands studied contained plastics chemicals called phthalates, additives that studies show may affect a child's developing brain. Choose phthalate-free flooring (check the full list), or buy flooring from Home Depot, which required all of its suppliers to be phthalate-free by the end of 2015.

If you're installing or replacing a floor, check out options considered safer and easier on the environment than all types of vinyl, even phthalate-free. Our partners at Healthy Building Network recommend linoleum over vinyl. Other green choices include FSC-certified wood, bamboo and cork.

Don't Use
Vinyl floors with phthalates

Vinyl flooring samples with and without phthalates were found at Lowes, Menards, Ace Hardware, Lumber Liquidators, and build.com. Home Depot is phthalate-free. See the complete list.

Whatever flooring you have in your home, be sure to wash your baby’s hands after they crawl and play on it. Infants and toddlers put their hands in their mouths 22 times every hour, on average. Dust, dirt and toxins cling to babies' hands, and are swallowed every time a baby puts hands or fingers in his or her mouth.