12/02/2013

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Draft of new US furniture flammability standards released

Consumers have become increasingly sensitive to the volume of flame retardant chemicals found in their household furniture. These chemicals were necessary to meet the requirements of TB 117 to slow the spread of fire though furniture, thereby allowing householders a greater escape time and reducing deaths caused by burning furniture. The draft standard is considered to be a win-win for millions of Californian's and US citizens because according to consumer groups, it will improve fire safety while eliminating the need for any chemicals to be used. It will focus on where and how furniture fires start - the outer fabric covering instead of the inner foam and it addresses the cause of most fires - smouldering cigarettes.The new regulation is also considered to be a win for businesses. It makes doing business less burdensome and removes the need for duplicative testing, the proposed standard is based on a voluntary federal standard for furniture fabric which 85 % of furniture manufacturers already comply with. It should not increase manufacturing costs and allow them to comply with the proposed standard while also eliminating the need for flame retardants.In addition, the new regulation will exempt 17 children's products from having to comply with flammability standards or carry warning label because they do not pose a fire hazard.The proposal can be read at the link below and is open for comments for 45 days from 8 February 2013: www.bhfti.ca.gov/about/laws/attach_11.pdf

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