European furniture manufacturers play an important role in the global furniture industry. With consumption in the USA growing rapidly and expected to continue, European businesses can see potential for their own growth in this large market.
Currently, the USA makes up 22% of the EU furniture export market1, with Italy being one of the USA's five main countries of origin for furniture imports2.
US Regulatory Framework
For more than 40 years, the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers trade association (BIFMA), has sponsored the development and refining of product safety standards for furniture.
With the exception of Harper's Law, which came into effect in June 5, 2019 and mandates retailers to sell clothing storage units that are compliant with ASTM F20573, the US federal government does not provide or mandate any general use furniture safety standards. To fill this void the industry has adopted BIFMA standards, which are used, whole or modified, to test various types of domestic and commercial furniture.
Looking at furniture safety from a chemical perspective, and relating the US EPA and CARB regulations, California Proposition 65, is an important regulation that needs to considered4.
European Furniture Testing Solution
Our laboratory in France is accredited for ASTM F2057 for clothes storage and can verify 16 CFR 1500.48 and 49.
To expand our capacity in Europe, we have now begun a new venture with the Italian company CATAS, one of the leading furniture testers in Europe. Together, we can help Italian and European manufacturers deliver products for export that are compliant with USA requirements.
This joint venture offers testing against the following BIFMA standards:
- ANSI BIFMA X5.1 (accredited) – chairs
- ANSI BIFMA X5.3 – vertical files
- ANSI BIFMA X5.4 (accredited) – lounge seating
- ANSI BIFMA X5.5 (accredited) – tables
- ANSI BIFMA X5.6 – panel systems
- ANSI BIFMA X5.9 (accredited) – storage, cabinets
- ASTM F 1427-13 – bunk beds and high beds
At SGS we want to support clients in their aim to deliver functional, quality and compliant furniture that withstands everyday use. From initial design concept, through production and into stores we help you with services including:
- Product safety and performance testing
- Consultancy and technical assistance
- Factory, social and environmental audits
- Inspection and production control
- Staff and supplier training
- Self-assembly furniture consumer panels
- Sustainability services
SGS laboratories in France and Germany have full capabilities to test according to EN standards including:
- EN 1725 – beds
- EN 12520, EN 581-2, EN 1335-2 – seating
- EN 12521, EN 581-3, EN 527-2 – tables and desks
- EN 15732, EN 16139 – contract furniture
- EN 14749, EN 16121 – domestic and kitchen storage units and worktops (safety requirements and test methods)
- Children's furniture
Further still, we can now offer packaging testing based on the ISTA standard, chemical testing relating to lead content, formaldehyde emissions in textiles, phthalates, PCP content, total cadmium content, azo dyes, and pentachloro phenol.
For more information, please contact:
International Sales Manager Softlines & Cosmetics, Personal Care and Household
t: +39 366 8321871
t. +33 (0)6 10 86 86 52
International Furniture Business Development and Technical Manager
SGS CTS (France)
t: +33 (0)4 42 97 64 47
1 EU Trade in Furniture Around The Globe
2 Leading 10 Source Countries of Household Furniture Imports in the United States in 2018 (in Million U.S. Dollars)
3 PSC Urges Compliance to Safety Standard for Clothing Storage Units
4 Understanding California Proposition 65: Commonly Asked Questions
SGS is the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 97,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world.