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SafeGuardS Upholstered Furniture In Living Room

The US state of Maine has recently passed measures to regulate flame retardants in residential upholstered furniture. The new restrictions will become effective on January 1, 2019.

In March 2017, we [1] had informed you that the US state of Maine introduced a proposal to regulate flame retardants (FRs) in upholstered furniture.

On August 2, 2017 [2], the Maine Legislature overrode the Governor’s veto on ‘LD 182 [3] (HP 138)’ to regulate FRs in new residential upholstered furniture. The new law, An Act to Protect Firefighters by Establishing a Prohibition on the Sale and Distribution of New Upholstered Furniture Containing Certain Flame-retardant Chemicals (the Act) directs the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt rules to implement the Act. To effectively implement these rules, the DEP [4] have indicated that they will need to develop a product labeling and registration program for manufacturers and a product sampling and testing program for certification.

The new measures restrict a flame retardant chemical or a mixture that includes flame retardant chemicals to no more than 0.1% in new residential upholstered furniture containing fabrics, other coverings or cushioning materials. According to the new law, new upholstered furniture containing restricted flame retardants that were acquired by retailers and wholesalers before January 1, 2019, can be sold, offered for sale or distributed until stocks are exhausted. 

According to the definitions, flame retardant chemicals include, but are not limited to, halogenated, phosphorus-containing, nitrogen-based and nanoscale flame retardants and any chemical or chemical compound where ‘flame retardant’ appears on the substance safety data sheet (SDS) under 29 CFR, Section 1910.1200(g)(2015).

Highlights of the new law are summarized in the table below.

Chapter 311, Public Law (LD 182, 128th Maine Legislature)
An Act to Protect Firefighters by Establishing a Prohibition on the Sale and
Distribution of new Upholstered Furniture Containing Certain Flame-retardant
Chemicals (the Act)

Substance

Scope

Requirement

Effective Date


Flame retardants
(FRs)

Residential upholstered furniture

≤ 0.1% FR chemical or

≤ 0.1% in a mixture containing FRs


January 1, 2019

NB

  • DEP to adopt rules for implementing the Act

Maine has specifically restricted Penta-BDE mixture and Octa-BDE mixture in a wide variety of consumer products since 2006. The use of Deca-BDE mixture has also been regulated since 2008 (38 MRSA § 1609 [5]). By bringing flame retardant chemicals into the scope of the law, Maine is strengthening its regulatory action on the use of flame retardants in residential upholstered furniture. Other US jurisdictions [6] regulating flame retardants include the Federal Government, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Washington DC.

NEXT STEP:

Stakeholders are now advised to ensure their residential upholstered furniture complies with the latest requirements for flame retardants under the new Maine law.

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.

For enquiries, please contact:

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

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