SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — In a preliminary ruling on Aug. 28, California Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny rejected Chemtura Corp.'s legal bid to block a change to the states' Cal TB-117 furniture flammability standard. This change will remove the need for flame retardants in furniture foam in the United States.
Judge Kenny wrote in a six-page preliminary decision that Chemtura's legal reasoning “would produce absurd results.”
“We are disappointed that the court did not rule that the California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation overstepped its authority by narrowing the scope of the standard to eliminate open flame testing and by attempting to address an issue that clearly is the purview of professionals at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. The real issue here is protecting the public from regulatory actions that jeopardize consumer fire safety,” Chemtura said in a statement on its website.
The firm added that TB-117-2013 sets a minimum level of fire protection that does not include resistance to open flames. Open flames are a significant ignition risk due to use of candles, lighters and matches. As a result, the new standard reduces fire safety.
“We are studying the decision and will consider whether an appeal is the best way to promote high fire safety for consumers in California,” Chemtura said in a statement. “We will continue to work with furniture manufacturers, fire safety experts and scientists to ensure customer protection from both smoulder and open flame sources.”
Chemtura filed its legal challenge to the change in TB-117 in January.