Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What types of products can I have tested for FRs?
    Furniture products containing polyurethane foam can be tested with this service. This would likely include products such as couches/sofas, loveseats, recliners, padded chairs, and children’s furniture such as car seats, high chairs, changing table pads, infant sleep positioners/wedges, and portable crib mattresses.  To test the product, you will need to cut out a small sample of the foam from the product and mail it in for testing.
  2. How can I tell what polyurethane foam looks like?
    Polyurethane foam is often yellow to white in color (although it can be found in other colors) and has the consistency of a sponge.  It will contain very small holes/pores inside.  You can squeeze foam and it will usually return to its original shape when you let go.
  3. How can I collect the piece of foam for testing?
    Most furniture items have a zipper or other option for accessing the foam inside the cushions. Unzip the cushion to access the interior foam and using scissors, cut out a small (marble-size) piece of foam. (See picture.)
  4. How much sample do you need?
    We need a very small piece of sample for testing, just 1 cubic centimeter, or about the size of your pinky nail. We recommend that you cut out or pull out a marble-size piece for testing.
  5. How many samples can I submit?
    Please limit sample submissions to five per household.
  6. What information will I get back from you?
    A brief report of our findings will be mailed to you (electronically or physically via US Postal Service). If we found a known flame retardant chemical in your foam sample, this report will tell you which flame retardant chemical is present. We will also provide you with links to additional information regarding the current state of the science on these chemicals and any handouts we create as part of this project.
  7. How long will it take to get results from my samples?
    Reports will generally be returned within 45 days after receiving the sample. We will notify you via email when we receive your sample.
  8. Have other studies like this been done? What did they find?
    Two studies that were similar to this were conducted within the past five years. Those studies focused either on infant/baby products or residential sofas. In both cases, more than 80% of the products tested contained a flame retardant chemical.
  9. What other products can contain flame retardants in my home?
    Other materials commonly found in the home environment can also be treated with flame retardant chemicals. These include electronics (TVs, computers, Blu-ray players, etc.), curtains, carpet padding, insulation, wiring and cables.
  10. How can I reduce my exposure to FRs?
    The best way to reduce your exposure to these chemicals is by washing your hands frequently, particularly before eating a meal. Reducing the accumulation of dust in your home (by vacuuming and dusting regularly) will also help, as will cleaning out your air ducts and changing your air filters on a routine basis.
  11. Who can I contact if I have questions about this analysis or the process involved?
    If you have additional questions about flame retardant testing, please send an email to: