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chair on fire

Flame Retardants Out of California Furniture

chair on fireFlammability standards for upholstered furniture in California, approved by Gov. Jerry Brown last week, will curb toxic chemicals found in furniture from high chairs to sofas, Brown says.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, manufacturers may begin manufacturing to the new standards, eliminating almost all flame-retardant chemicals from their products including polyurethane foam filling materials. They will have a year to complete the transition and must come into full mandatory compliance on Jan. 1, 2015.

The state says the new standards will protect Californians from the common ignition sources of fires, including smoldering sources such as cigarettes, space heaters and extension cords. They also more effectively address upholstery cover fabric, require the use of barrier materials with smolder-prone materials and test the interactions of all the materials that go into a piece of upholstered furniture.

The previous standards included an open-flame test for filling materials, such as foam, which were treated with flame retardants. The new standards eliminate an open flame test for filling materials.

According to state officials, manufacturers will be able to meet the requirements either through the use of more smolder-resistant cover fabrics or smolder-resistant barriers beneath the cover fabrics.

Last year, Brown directed state agencies to revise California’s flammability standards for upholstered furniture sold in the state to reduce the use of harmful chemicals.

Photo Credit: chair on fire via Shutterstock


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