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AB-2197 Seating furniture: flammability.(2011-2012)

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CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2011–2012 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 2197


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Mitchell
(Principal Coauthor(s): Senator Leno)
(Coauthor(s): Assembly Member Bonilla, Butler)

February 23, 2012


An act to amend, repeal, and add Section 19161 of the Business and Professions Code, relating to furniture.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2197, as introduced, Mitchell. Seating furniture: flammability.
Existing law, the Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation Act, requires all seating furniture sold or offered for sale, as specified, to be fire retardant and labeled.
The Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation has adopted, by regulation, a flame retardance test of the filling materials of residential upholstered furniture.
This bill, effective September 1, 2013, would revise these provisions to instead require all seating furniture sold or offered for sale to meet a smolder flammability test rather than an open flame-test. The bill would make legislative findings and declarations in that regard.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The great majority of injuries and deaths related to ignition of upholstered furniture in homes occur as a result of smolder ignition.
(b) The rate of injury and deaths in the United States attributed to open flame ignition of household furniture is very low.
(c) Flammability standards based on whether furniture can withstand open flame ignition do not protect against the majority of injuries due to ignition of upholstered furniture in homes.
(d) Recent studies establish that the use of filling that meets the open flame test in the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation’s Technical Bulletin 117 of March 2000 (TB 117) does not reduce the severity of a fire involving upholstered furniture. In those studies, the filling treated to make it compliant with TB 117 ignited in the same amount of time as the nontreated filling covered by the same fabric. TB 117-compliant filling also did not affect flame spread.
(e) The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has extensively studied the optimal way to reduce injury and death due to ignition of household furniture. It has concluded that it is most critical for flammability standards for upholstered furniture to reduce the risk of residential fires resulting from smoldering ignitions of upholstered furniture because this type of fire accounts for a substantial majority of the addressable deaths, injuries, and property losses due to fire.
(f) Not only is the focus on smolder ignition in the CPSC standard the optimal means for reducing the most common cause of injuries due to ignition of upholstered furniture, it also enables furniture manufacturers to ensure fire safety without adding chemical flame retardants to furniture filling.
(g) The chemicals currently used to comply with TB 117 are not sealed in consumer products, but instead migrate from the product to the larger environment. Flame retardant chemicals are found in household dust and indoor air, and wastewater transports these chemicals into the outdoor environment where they have been detected in California’s surface waters, sediments and wildlife. Flame retardant chemicals used to meet TB 117 have been found in the body fluids of nearly all Californians tested. California children have some of the highest levels in the world of flame retardant chemicals in their bodies.
(h) Common chemical flame retardants present serious health risks to humans and wildlife. In general, human studies have shown associations between increased flame retardant body levels and reduced IQ in children, reduced fertility, endocrine and thyroid disruption, changes in male hormone levels, adverse birth outcomes, and impaired development. The high levels of exposure of children to these chemicals is of particular concern because the exposure occurs when their rapidly developing brains and reproductive organs are most vulnerable. One of the chemical flame retardants commonly used to bring upholstered furniture into compliance with TB 117 has been listed as a carcinogen in California under Proposition 65 by the California Carcinogen Identification Committee.
(i) The Legislature is persuaded by the reasoning of the CPSC’s proposed smolder flammability standard for seating furniture (73 Fed. Reg. 11702, as published in the Federal Register on March 4, 2008). California can better protect the public from the dangers of ignition of household furniture and the risks posed by chemical flame retardants by adopting a comprehensive smolder ignition standard for upholstered furniture to replace the current open flame standard.
(j) For these reasons, the Legislature is amending Section 19161 of the Business and Professions Code with the intent that the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation shall revise TB 117 and model the revised standard on the draft smolder flammability standard published by CPSC.

SEC. 2.

 Section 19161 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:

19161.
 (a) All mattresses and mattress sets manufactured for sale in this state shall be fire retardant. “Fire retardant,” as used in this section, means a product that meets the standards for resistance to open-flame test adopted by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and set forth in Section 1633 and following of Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The bureau may adopt regulations it deems necessary to implement those standards.
(b) All other bedding products that the bureau determines contribute to mattress bedding fires shall comply with regulations adopted by the bureau specifying that those products be resistant to open-flame ignition.
(c) All seating furniture sold or offered for sale by an importer, manufacturer, or wholesaler for use in this state, including any seating furniture sold to or offered for sale for use in a hotel, motel, or other place of public accommodation in this state, and reupholstered furniture to which filling materials are added, shall be fire retardant and shall be labeled in a manner specified by the bureau. This does not include furniture used exclusively for the purpose of physical fitness and exercise.
(d) Regulations adopted by the bureau for other bedding products shall not apply to any hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, inn, or similar transient lodging establishment that has an automatic fire extinguishing system that conforms to the specifications established in Section 904.1 of Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations.

(e)This section shall become operative on July 1, 2007.

(e) This section shall become inoperative on September 1, 2013, and, as of January 1, 2014, is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that becomes operative on or before January 1, 2014, deletes or extends the dates on which it becomes inoperative and is repealed.

SEC. 3.

 Section 19161 is added to the Business and Professions Code, to read:

19161.
 (a) All mattresses and mattress sets manufactured for sale in this state shall be fire retardant. “Fire retardant,” as used in this section, means a product that meets the standards for resistance to open-flame test adopted by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and set forth in Section 1633 and following of Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The bureau may adopt regulations it deems necessary to implement those standards.
(b) All other bedding products that the bureau determines contribute to mattress bedding fires shall comply with regulations adopted by the bureau specifying that those products be resistant to open-flame ignition.
(c) All seating furniture sold or offered for sale by an importer, manufacturer, or wholesaler for use in this state, including any seating furniture sold to or offered for sale for use in a hotel, motel, or other place of public accommodation in this state, and reupholstered furniture to which filling materials are added, shall meet a smolder flammability test. Seating furniture shall be labeled in a manner specified by the bureau. This does not include furniture used exclusively for the purpose of physical fitness and exercise. The smolder flammability test shall replace the open flame test in the bureau’s Technical Bulletin 117 (as adopted in March 2000) as the flammability standard for seating furniture subject to this subdivision.
(d) Regulations adopted by the bureau for other bedding products shall not apply to any hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, inn, or similar transient lodging establishment that has an automatic fire extinguishing system that conforms to the specifications established in Section 904.1 of Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations.
(e) This section shall become operative on September 1, 2013.