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Source for PBDE-free foam for box cushions?

Posted by overbooked (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 13, 06 at 14:57

I am making box cushions that will sit on top of several radiator covers in my house. In the past I've made box cushions using thick green-colored foam (high-density?)I bought at JoAnn Fabrics. Recently I've been reading that all polyurethane foam has PBDEs (very bad chemical, especially for children) in it. I have allergies, and a very chemically-sensitive child, so I need to find an alternative. The cushions are for the children's bedrooms.

Does anyone have a source for PBDE-free foam? A company called American Poly-Foam makes something called HR foam, that's supposed to be PBDE-free, but I don't think that's the right stuff. Plus they don't sell to consumers.

Alternately, does anyone have any suggestions for an alternative material for the box cushions? The cushions will sit on top of the radiator covers, and will be attached with velcro ties that go under the hinged top of the radiator covers. I like the neat, square look of box cusions, and fear that stuffing the cushions with something like cotton batting (organic!) will not produce the tailored look I want. The bedrooms are very traditionally decorated with chintz, etc.

Thanks for any help.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Source for PBDE-free foam for box cushions?

I have used a different type of cushion filling (for lack of a better word) that I bought at Hancock's Fabric. Hancock's markets it under the Sew Perfect brand (which I think is their house brand) and the product name is Nu-foam (with the hyphen).

Fairfield also sells Nu-foam under their brand name. A Google search for "Nu-foam" will return a number of online vendors.

It's basically a thick, stiff polyester batting-type material, with a bit of air space. It compresses when you sit on it, so it does have some softness, but it still maintains its shape. It will not deteriorate like foam. It comes in a roll or cut into nice boxy cushion-sized shapes - and it stays in that shape. It doesn't shift around like stuffing or batting.

I don't know if I'm explaining this well, because I had never seen anything like it until I bought a square to make a cushion. It comes in various sizes and thicknesses, but you could easily put 2 densified batting peices to put into one cushion if you want a to make a taller cushion.

Mine has maintained its square shape fairly well.

Here's a link to a place called Roseann's that sells a variety of Fairfield Nu-foam products. You can get a 12x12x2 block of Nu-foam for under $5 (plus shipping) if you want to test it out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Densified Batting cushion - Nu-foam

RE: Source for PBDE-free foam for box cushions?

cmc 97: Thanks for the tip. I just looked at the website, and it mentioned the Nu Foam is fire-resistant. Uh oh, that may mean it's been treated with another toxic chemical. I'm going to contact the manufacturer to find out. If it's fire-retardant-free, then it may be just the solution I've been looking for. I'll report back.

RE: Source for PBDE-free foam for box cushions?

You are welcome, overbooked!

I will also be interested in what the manufacturer has to tell you about the fire resistance. I suspect that the nature of the material is what makes it fire resistant, not any chemical treatment.

Although I didn't test it out myself (insert picture of me in my backyard trying to set densified batting on fire), it didn't seem like a material that would catch fire very easily.

Long boring discussion about fire resistant vs. fire proof follows (so you can skip this if you are not interested)--


Fire resistant does not mean that it will not catch on fire and burn, only that it will not catch on fire *easily* -- which is still a valuable characteristic! If the material meets the federal standards of fire resistance without chemical treatment, then no chemical treatment is required.

I recently looked up information about fire resistance after reading a discussion here about children's sleepwear. The legal definition of fire resistant (legal in that you can label your products that way) is something like (I'm paraphrasing from memory): "doesn't catch fire and burst into flame after being exposed to an open flame for X many seconds." If the material starts to burn/smolder but goes out after the flame is removed, then the material also classifies as fire resistant.

A lot of substances meet this standard, including (according to one article) a folded newspaper. "Exposed to open flame" can be a simple as "lay a lit match on it for x seconds, then remove it".

There are no requirements for chemical treatment, but some/most fabrics will not meet this standard without chemical treatment.

Manufacturers have to officially test their products or have them tested in order to label them as fire resistant.

FirePROOF is something else altogether, although I suspect that chemical treatment may not always be required. A metal door would be naturally fireproof, but almost anything else would require some kind of chemical treatment.

The US laws about fire resistant materials for children's sleepwear came about after some very sad and disturbing instances of highly flammable sleepwear and clothing in the 1950s. When exposed to flame or spark the clothing immediately burst into flames and the entire garment was on fire in seconds.


RE: Source for PBDE-free foam for box cushions?

I'm wanting to know same thing...
Overbooked - What did you find out from the manufacturer about the treatment (or not) of Nu-Foam? Desperately seeking answer - thanks!

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