Bill to impose flame retardants labeling before California senate

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California State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) has placed a bill before the state legislature in California to make it clear to consumers if furniture made with polyurethane contains flame retardants.

The latest version of the bill, amended March 23, would require manufacturers to clearly show whether their products are flame retarded in tags on the furniture and point of sale signs which retailers would have to display.

Additionally, the bill currently requires the furniture maker to “make good faith efforts to determine the various flame retardant chemicals used in its products and report this information” to the California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation.

If the Bureau decides to ask a furniture maker about the foam composition, the furniture maker would have 30 days to give “documentation establishing the accuracy of the flame retardant chemical statement on the label and sign.” The bill adds that if products are sold without flame retardants, then samples must be submitted to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

If these are found to contain flame retardants then, the foam maker, furniture manufacturer and retailer could all be fined. There would also be fines if the documentation relating to the furniture, flame retardant and foam was incomplete. Breaking the bill’s provisions would be a criminal offense in California.

According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, Leno said the latest California flammability regulation “merely states there is a new flammability standard … and there’s a way to meet that standard without the use of chemicals,” Leno explained. “But if you go to buy some furniture and there’s no labeling of what it is and what it isn’t, you’re still in the dark.”