California Bed Clothing Standard


Status: successfully completed. California Technical Bulletin 604 was a proposed flammability standard for filled bed clothing, including comforters, mattress pads and pillows. In February 2010, based partly on GSP efforts, the California Bureau (BEARHFTI) suspended its effort to implement TB604.

Stage 1: Research Collaboration

Green Science Policy Institute partnered with Susan Shaw of the Marine Environmental Research Institute in carrying out a review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature analyzing potential health and environmental impacts as well as fire safety benefits of flame retardant chemicals such as those likely to be used in bed coverings.

Stage 2: Publications, Presentations, and White Papers

Our team’s research on the health and environmental risks versus fire safety benefit of the flame retardant chemicals that would be used to meet TB604 was incorporated into a review paper published in Reviews on Environmental Health.

Full text: Health and Environmental impacts of Technical Bulletin 604 (TB 604)

We presented Grand Rounds at Oakland and Santa Clara Kaiser, and UCSF, to The San Francisco Firefighter’s Cancer Association, to the Consumer Union, and at numerous scientific meetings and universities and discussed the health risks posed by TB604 and other California flammability standards.

Stage 3: Communication of Findings to Decision-Makers and the Public

Dr. Blum and Elana Fishman wrote an op-ed of the issue that was published in California Progress Report

Averting a California toxics disaster

GSP Flame Retardant Dilemma meetings were held at UC Berkeley in May of 2009 and February of 2010 and in Beijing China in August of 2009 with about 90 participants at each meeting. NGOs, firefighters, scientists, physicians, and California government officials from OEHHA, DTSC, PDH, and other agencies participated. Some of the participants from California health departments and agencies then organized interagency meetings to educate the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation (Bureau) about environmental and health data on flame retardants.

We also prepared a letter cosigned by several other NGO representatives.

Policy Outcomes

Our efforts contributed to California Medical Association recently passing a resolution recognizing the cumulative negative effects of flame retardants and calling upon regulatory agencies to limit their use when possible (CMA Resolution 711-09).

In February of 2010, the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation (Bureau) suspended its effort to begin the formal rule making process to implement TB604. This prevented an estimated annual 20 million pounds of toxic or untested flame retardant chemicals and materials being used in beds in California and ending up in our environment, a huge benefit to the health and environment of our state.t need to add toxic flame retardants to the foam of these products.