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Federal Furniture Flammability Congress Mandates CPSC Adoption of California Standard

US Congress on December 21, 2020 passed an omnibus spending bill (H.R. 133) and later signed into law by US President. Named as the “COVID-19 Regulatory Relief and Work from Home Safety Act” the law adopts the California upholstered furniture flammability standard TB 117-2013 as a federal standard in the United States.

US Congress passed an Omnibus Spending bill signed by US President on December 281. Among other things, the bill contains as TITLE XXI, COVID–19 Regulatory Relief and Work from Home Safety Act. The Act requires US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to mandate a Federal furniture flammability standard by adopting the California standard California’s Technical Bulletin 117-2013.

For more than five years, American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA), a furniture industry group, has pushed for adoption of California’s revised flammability standard, Technical Bulletin 117-2013 by petitioning CPSC to adopt the performance standards and test methods prescribed under California Standard as a national, mandatory flammability standard for residential furniture2.

CPSC staff in a 2016 briefing package3, evaluated the feasibility, benefits, and costs of adopting TB 117-2013 as a mandatory national standard. TB117-2013, uses a small-scale mockup test that includes a test method to evaluate components, including cover materials, used in the construction of upholstered furniture. The test is based on ASTM E1353, which, in turn, is based on UFAC, a voluntary standard the furniture industry adopted 40 years ago. The test method is intended to address fires caused by a smoldering ignition source only. 

The Commission agency evaluated the prospective benefits and costs of adopting the measure but, in September 2016, announced it would pursue “alternative approaches that address the hazard through a combination of research, education and outreach, and voluntary standards efforts.” However, no alternative approaches to the TB 117-2013 standard have been proposed by the Commission. 

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1 Rules Committee Print 116–68. Text of the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 133
2 American Home Furnishings Alliance 
3 Upholstered Furniture Flammability 

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