Group seeks role in California revision of flame-retardant rules

19 June 2012 21:21  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A trade group seeks to participate in the revision of the standards California uses to test upholstered furniture for fire safety, it said on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, California Governor Jerry Brown directed state agencies to review flammability standards for the furniture, according to a statement from his office. 

After the review, the agencies would recommend changes to reduce flame retardants while still ensuring that that the furniture is safe.

The state's current guidelines for flammability standards would be revised to reflect recent manufacturing methods that can reduce the amount of chemicals used to make the furniture.

The standard dates back four decades, Brown said.

In justifying the order, Brown said: “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.”

He added: “We must find better ways to meet fire safety standards by reducing and eliminating - wherever possible - dangerous chemicals.”

The Citizens for Fire Safety Institute seeks to participate in the process, said Seth Jacobsen, spokesman for the group. The institute represents companies that produce flame retardants.

"We hope, in the end, the governor will maintain the high fire-safety standards that California has had for 40 years," Jacobsen said.

The governor's order marks the beginning of what Jacobsen said would likely be a long process.

Flame retardants are just one of the ways furniture manufacturers can make their products safer, he said.

"There is other technology that the furniture industry has suggested as well," Jacobsen said.

By: Al Greenwood
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