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San Francisco has recently approved measures to restrict flame retardants in upholstered furniture, reupholstered furniture and juvenile products. The new restrictions will be implemented in two phases, starting January 1, 2019.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer Products NO. 168/17

SafeGuardS boy reading book in a bed

On November 3, 2017 [1],  the mayor of San Francisco in the US state of California signed into law a landmark piece of legislation, the ‘Flame Retardant Chemicals in Upholstered Furniture and Juvenile Products Ordinance’. The new law, Ordinance 211-17 [2] creates a new Chapter 28 in the city’s Environmental Code and restricts (all) flame retardants in upholstered furniture, reupholstered furniture and juvenile products.

According to the definitions in Ordinance 211-17, reupholstered furniture, juvenile products and upholstered furniture have the following meaning:

  • Reupholstered furniture means furniture whose original fabric, padding, decking, barrier, material foam, and/or other resilient filling has been replaced by an Establishment, that has not been sold since the time of such replacement, and that is required to meet the flammability standards in California Technical Bulletin 117-2013 ‘Requirements, Test Procedure and Apparatus for Testing the Smolder Resistance of Materials Used in Upholstered Furniture [3]’. Reupholstered furniture does not include products required to meet California Technical Bulletin 133 ‘Flammability Test Procedure for Seating Furniture for Use in Public Occupancies [4]
  • Upholstered furniture means new, not previously owned seating made with soft materials, including but not limited to fabric, padding, decking, barrier material, foam, and/or other resilient filling, that is required to meet the flammability standards in California Technical Bulletin 117-2013. Upholstered furniture does not include products required to meet California Technical Bulletin 133.
  • Juvenile product means a new product designed for residential use by infants and children under 12 years of age, including but not limited to a bassinet, booster seat, changing pad, floor play mat, highchair, highchair pad, infant bouncer, infant carrier, infant seat, infant swing, infant walker, nursing pad, nursing pillow, playpen side pad, play yard, portable hook-on chair, stroller and children’s nap mat.

The following are not under the definitions of juvenile products:

  • Products that are not primarily intended for residential use, such as products or components for motor vehicles
  • Products subject to 49 CFR 571 ‘Parts and products used in vehicles and aircraft’
  • Products required to meet 16 CFR 1632 or 1633 ‘mattress products’
  • Products required to meet California Technical Bulletin 133 ‘Flammability Test Procedure for Seating Furniture for Use in Public Occupancies’

The new Ordinance directs the Director of the Department of Environment to issue necessary rules and regulations to implement and enforce the new law.

There are two effective dates:

  • January 1, 2019 for upholstered furniture, reupholstered furniture and juvenile products
  • July 1, 2019 for products above with electrical and electronic components

Highlights of the new Ordinance are summarized in Table 1

San Francisco Ordinance No. 211-17
Environmental Code, Sections 2801 through 2807
Chapter 28: Flame Retardant Chemicals in Upholstered Furniture and Juvenile Products
Substance
Scope
Requirement
Effective Date
Flame retardants (FRs)
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Reupholstered furniture
  • Juvenile products for residential use
≤ 1000 ppm each FR
January 1, 2019
Products above with electrical or electronic components ≤ 1000 ppm each FR
July 1, 2019

Table 1

In October 2017, we reported [5] the US state of Rhode Island had passed a law to regulate (all) organohalogen flame retardants (OFRs) in residential upholstered bedding or furniture. That law also contains a provision to restrict these OFRs in children’s residential upholstered bedding or furniture [6]. This provision will become effective on July 1, 2018; one year before non-children’s residential upholstered bedding or furniture.

Highlights of the law in the US state of Rhode Island are summarized in Table 2.

SB 166 (2017) amending General Laws
Chapter 23-26 ‘Bedding and Upholstered Furniture’ and Chapter 23-75 ‘Children’s Product Safety Act’
Substance
Scope
Requirement
Effective Date
Organohalogen flame retardants
(OFRs)
Children’s Residential upholstered furniture or bedding
≤ 100 ppm each OFR
July 1, 2018
Residential upholstered furniture or bedding
≤ 100 ppm each OFR
July 1, 2019

Table 2

Throughout our global network of laboratories, we are able to provide a range of services, including analytical testing and consultancy for flame retardants in consumer products for the US and international markets. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

Next step:

Stakeholders are now advised to ensure their products comply with the latest requirements for flame retardants for San Francisco, Rhode Island and the US market.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hingwo Tsang
Global Information and Innovation Manager
t: +852 2774 7420

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