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US State of Massachusetts Restricts Flame Retardants in Consumer Goods

SafeGuardSToys and Juvenile Products, Home Furnishings and Houseware, Sports and Leisure, Footwear and Leather Products, Home TextilesJanuary 19, 2021

Massachusetts regulates 11 flame retardants in 5 categories of product. These will become effective on December 31, 2021.

On January 1, 2021, the governor of Massachusetts signed H4900 into law to regulate 11 flame retardants (FRs) in 5 categories of consumer goods (the Act). The Act adds new Section 28 to Chapter 21A of the General Laws to restrict each of the FRs to no more than 1,000 ppm in any component of the product. 

According to the definitions in the Act, bedding, carpeting, children’s product, residential upholstered furniture and window treatment have the following meaning:

  • Bedding means any bedding material, including sleeping bags and other stuffed items for reclining or sleeping
  • Carpeting means any fabric floor covering, including carpet padding
  • Children’s product means a consumer product for use by children 12 years of age or younger
  • Residential upholstered furniture means seating or other upholstered products for indoor or outdoor use in or at a home or other dwelling intended for residential occupancy
  • Window treatment means blinds, curtain materials or shades

Per the Act, manufacturers (which also includes importers and distributors) are obliged to notify retailers and others who sell these FR-containing products of the passage of this new law by July 1, 2021. 

Highlights of the new Act are summarized in Table 1.

H4900 (Chapter 261 of the Acts of 2020) ‘An Act to protect children, families, and firefighters from harmful flame retardants’ adding Section 28 to Chapter 21A of the General Laws
Flame Retardant (FR)Scope*RequirementEffective Date
  • TBB
  • Antimony trioxide
  • TBPH
  • HBCD
  • Octa-BDE
  • Penta-BDE
  • SCCP
  • TCPP and TDCPP
  • Bedding
  • Carpeting
  • Children’s products
  • Residential upholstered furniture
  • Window treatments
≤ 1,000 ppm each FR
December 31, 2021**
*The following products are exempt: 1) motor vehicles, watercraft, aircraft, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles and 2) second-hand products 
**Products manufactured before this date are exempt

Table 1


Entry Flame RetardantAbbreviation
CAS no.
12-Ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoateTBB 183658-27-7
2Antimony trioxide
5Octabromodiphenyl ether
6Pentabromodiphenyl ether
7Short Chain Chlorinated Paraffins
8Tetrabromobisphenol ATBBPA
9Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate
10Tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate
11Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphateTDCPP

Massachusetts joins a host of jurisdictions in the US regulating flame retardants in consumer products, including Anchorage (Alaska), California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, San Francisco, Vermont, Washington and Washington DC. It is important to note that the scope of restriction is specific to each of these jurisdictions. Additionally, the states of Maine, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington require disclosure information on hazardous chemicals, including flame retardants, in children’s products. 

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:

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

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