Published on : Saturday, October 6, 2018
Two senators introduced a bill on Thursday that would require the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to adopt California Technical Bulletin (TB) 117-2013 as a federal flammability standard.
The bill, Senate Bill 3551, or the Safer Occupancy Furniture Flammability Act (SOFFA) and an American Home Furnishings Alliance (AFHA)-backed bill, was introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Roger Wicker (R-MS). A House version of the bill was introduced in November 2017 by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA).
“SOFFA provides a workable solution to a 40-year stalemate over upholstered furniture flammability at CPSC. California’s TB 117-2013 is a proven and effective standard that helps protect consumers and reduces the risk of upholstered furniture fires,” said AHFA CEO Andy Counts.
TB 117-2013 provides performance standards and testing methods for the smolder resistance of barrier materials, filling materials, cover fabrics and decking materials used in upholstered furniture. It is endorsed by a variety of stakeholders, including AHFA, fire scientists, fire fighters, environmentalists and consumer groups, according to the AHFA.
“By making TB 117-2013 a national standard, we can ensure that all upholstered residential furniture sold in the United States meets a rigorous fire safety threshold,” Counts said. “SOFFA would mandate the best test methods and construction standards we have today but would not prohibit the CPSC from future rulemaking if new fire safety technologies become available.” Counts added further.
AHFA formally petitioned the CPSC to adopt the Technical Bulletin as a national, mandatory flammability standard for residential furniture in October 2015. Following the petition, the agency prepared a briefing package on the cost, feasibility and benefits of adopting the measure.
Ultimately the package, which was completed in September 2016, recommended against adopting TB 117-2013 and instead advised the commissioners to pursue “alternative approaches that address the hazard through a combination of research, education and outreach, and voluntary standards efforts,” but, to date, no alternative approaches have been proposed by the commission.
Image courtesy: Classic Sofas