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San Francisco’s Department of the Environment publishes Regulations SFE-18-01-FR to provide guidelines for compliance and the petition process for flame retardants in upholstered furniture and juvenile products.

SAFEGUARDS | Hardlines NO. 130/18

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The Mayor signed the Flame Retardant Chemicals in Upholstered Furniture and Juvenile Products Ordinance, No. 211-17 [1] on November 3, 2017 to make San Francisco to become the first city in the US to restrict flame retardants [2]. The Ordinance will go into effect on January 1, 2019 for upholstered furniture, reupholstered furniture and juvenile products (‘Covered Products’). ‘Covered Products’ with electrical or electronic components will go into effect on July 1, 2019. All ‘Covered Products’ containing more than 1000 ppm of a flame retardant chemical are prohibited after their respective effective dates.

On June 21, 2018, the Director of the Department of the Environment published Regulations SFE-18-01-FR [3] to provide guidelines for compliance and the petition process for flame retardants in upholstered furniture, reupholstered furniture and juvenile products. The guidelines for compliance and the petition process are as follows:

Compliance:

  1. All upholstered furniture must be affixed with a label that meets the requirements of Section 19094 of the Business and Professions Code, and states that the item does not contain flame retardant chemical(s).
  2. Compliance files for upholstered furniture containing electrical/electronic components and juvenile products must be retained and made available for inspection upon the Department’s request a written statement from the product supplier attesting that the product or grouping of products does not contain a flame retardant chemical. The written statement must be provided within 30 days upon request. Such documentation must also be made available for consumers upon request.
  3. Any person representing a group of establishments, product manufacturer, or person representing a group of product manufacturers may submit a request for alternative methods of compliance for either reupholstered furniture or juvenile products.

Petitions and Waivers

An establishment or any person may, subject to certain conditions, request for a waiver from strict compliance with the Ordinance and/or these regulations. A petitioner may submit a petition representing any number of establishments.

According to the regulations, a petition is required to contain the following information:

  • Contact information of petitioner and establishment
  • Name of product and manufacturer
  • Name, chemical formula and CAS number of flame retardant, including its concentration in a product’s component
  • Justification for having flame retardant(s) in the product
  • Timeframe required to eliminate flame retardant(s) from the product
  • Additional supporting documentation

Except ‘Covered Products’ with electrical or electronic components, petition for all ‘Covered Products’ must be submitted to FlameRetardants@sfgov.org no later than September 30, 2018. The petition for ‘Covered Products’ with electrical or electronic components must be submitted no later than February 28, 2019.

A waiver may be granted for a specified period of time. If a petitioner can demonstrate that strict compliance will continue to cause severe hardship or practical difficulty after period has elapsed, the petitioner may request for an extension of the waiver at least 90 days before the initial waiver period expires.  

Next step:

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

SGS is committed to providing information about development in regulations for consumer products as complimentary services. Through a global network of laboratories, SGS provides a wide range of services including physical/mechanical testing, analytical testing and consultancy work for technical and non-technical parameters applicable to a comprehensive range of consumer products. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hsin Chen
Technical Manager - Restricted Substances                                      
t: +1 973-461-7950

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