SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (June 21, 2:45 p.m. ET) — California Gov. Jerry Brown has called on state agencies to revise flammability standards for upholstered furniture, a move he says is to protect public safety by reducing the use of toxic flame retardants.
Brown asked the California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation to review the state's four-decade-old flammability standards and recommend changes to reduce toxic flame retardants while continuing to ensure fire safety.
“Toxic flame retardants are found in everything from high chairs to couches and a growing body of evidence suggests that these chemicals harm human health and the environment,” Brown said. “We must find better ways to meet fire safety standards by reducing and eliminating – wherever possible – dangerous chemicals.”
An 18 June news release from Brown's office cited a number of studies that it says show that humans are at risk from exposure to toxic chemicals used as flame retardants in upholstered furniture.
The current guidelines – Technical Bulletin 117 for flammability standards – will be updated to reflect modern manufacturing methods that can lower the use of harmful chemicals, Brown said.
Any changes made will affect not only the polyurethane industry within the state, but also companies that import foam containing flame retardants into California.
The process to change these regulations will include workshops and the opportunity for public comment as well as administrative review.