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California’s proposed furniture standard: What you need to know

February 8, 2013

Proposed regulation is a win-win-win for fire safety, health and environment

Usually people aren’t eagerly awaiting the arrival of new furniture flammability standards, but the announcement of February 8, 2013 has been 38 years in the making. Today, the California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation unveiled its new proposed regulation for upholstered furniture, TB117-2013. Here’s the rundown on what you need to know.

What is TB117-2013?

TB117-2013 is a new regulation proposed on the flammability of upholstered furniture. It is meant to replace the obsolete 1975 standard, Technical Bulletin 117, which leads to the addition of harmful flame retardant chemicals in the foam of furniture and baby products.

How is TB117-2013 better than the old standard?

TB117-2013 takes a commonsense approach to protecting public health and safety by addressing how and where fires start in the real world. Fires start on fabric, and cigarettes are the leading cause of furniture fires. TB117-2013 requires a smolder test for fabric, which was absent from the old standard. And flame retardant chemicals are not needed in order to meet TB117-2013! This means improved fire safety without toxic chemicals.

When does TB117-2013 go into effect, and will I then be able to buy flame-retardant free furniture?

The timeline is adoption by Jan 2014, with full compliance from furniture manufacturers by Jan 2015.  It may be possible to buy flame-retardant free furniture once the regulation is implemented.

Is there anything I can do help?

Yes! You can let furniture manufacturers know that you want non-toxic, flame retardant-free furniture. This will encourage the production of safer products once the standard changes.

 Read more in the Chicago Tribune