High Point, North Carolina – The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) has asked the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to adopt California’s TB 117-2013 standard as the national US standard for residential furniture flammability under the Flammable Fabrics Act.
The move is designed to break the paralysis which has prevented the Federal CPSC from reaching a decision on furniture flammability standards for over 20 years. The California Technical Bulletin 117-2013 is widely used in the US by many states as their fire protection standard for furniture.
“This petition provides the CPSC with an opportunity to bring closure to the longstanding issue of furniture flammability,” states Bill Perdue, AHFA’s vice president of regulatory affairs.
The Polyurethane Foam Association is a key member of a consortium of groups represented by the AHFA’s petition. Other members include Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association, International Association of Fire Fighters, North American Home Furnishings Association and Upholstered Furniture Action Council.
The CPSC has been evaluating whether it should adopt national regulations that would establish flammability standards for residential upholstered furniture for 40 years.
It 2008 the CPSC published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that outlined a flammability standard. This focused on protecting consumers from fires started by smoking materials. The CPSC focused on a smoulder test, said AHFA, because cigarettes are the source of ignition in 90% of the upholstered furniture fires that result in a fatality in the US.
The effort stalled, the AHFA said, as competing groups argued for an open-flame test, and environmental groups expressed deepening concern that flame retardants would be needed to meet those testing requirements.
Adoption of the California standard under the Flammable Fabrics Act, coupled with a robust labelling program, would create a national standard that addresses the issue of smoulder ignition for residential upholstered furniture, saves lives and reduces losses at a relatively low cost to the CPSC, the industry and the consumer, said the AHFA.