This bill has been amended

Bill S4780-2013

Prohibits the use of chemical flame retardants on residential upholstered furniture

Enacts the upholstered furniture safety act; requires furniture sold in this state shall meet certain smolder resistant standards.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • May 30, 2013: REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE
  • Apr 23, 2013: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Meetings

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Environmental Conservation - May 30, 2013
Ayes (9): Grisanti, Marcellino, Maziarz, Young, Avella, Espaillat, Serrano, Latimer, Tkaczyk
Ayes W/R (2): LaValle, O'Mara
Nays (1): Little

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4780

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to prohibiting the use of chemical flame retardants

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

The purpose of this bill is to limit residential exposure to chemical flame retardants and to increase fire safety.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

This bill would:

*prohibit the sale of residential upholstered furniture containing intentionally-added chemical flame retardants beginning July 1, 2014;

*require manufacturers to certify, beginning December 1, 2016, that residential upholstered furniture offered for sale in New York meets the requirements of the "open flame flammability standard;"

*require the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in consultation with the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, to develop an open flame flammability standard that prevents flashover for at least 15 minutes and require such standard to be reviewed for effectiveness periodically; and,

*permit DEC to authorize an exemption to the prohibition on the use of chemical flame retardants upon a determination that the proposed chemical flame retardant does not pose a risk to human health or the environment. In addition, such chemical would be required to undergo a comprehensive health impact assessment conducted by the Department of Health.

JUSTIFICATION:

Recent studies have shown that approximately 94 percent of couches manufactured after 2005 contain chemical flame retardants - in amounts capable of being measured in pounds. The flame retardant chemicals were added in response to a 1975 California flammability standard, TB 117, which was developed in response to concerns about the large number of cigarette fires. An editorial in Newsday described the process as follows "So, the (cigarette) industry solution to these unfortunate deaths was to add flame retardant chemicals to furniture. The result: a vast increase in sales of flame-retardant chemicals, even though they're ineffective. The "Chicago Tribune quoted the author of one study as saying: 'The fire just laughs at it." The lion's share of furniture sold in the United States meets the California standard due to California's large market share.

Scientific studies have also demonstrated that meeting the requirements of TB 117 did not accurately reflect real-world fire behavior and that the addition of chemical flame retardants offered very little additional effectiveness. A study conducted by the United States Department of Commerce, National Bureau of Standards, found that there were no significant differences in fire resistance between treated and untreated foams.

The chemical flame retardants migrate out of furniture and into household dust. Because of their tendency to put items in their mouth, toddlers typically have three times the level of flame retardants as their parents. This exposure is on top of what babies are born with. An article in the Chicago Tribune stated "A typical American baby is born with the highest recorded concentrations of flame retardants among infants in the world." Many flame retardants, most notably halogenated chemical retardants, have been associated with adverse health impacts. For example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission identified the flame retardant Tris as a threat to human health, and California has identified Tris as a suspected human carcinogen. In addition, when combusted, chemical flame retardants can also form harmful by-products with the potential to affect the health of firefighters adversely. A recent study in San Francisco found that firefighters had two to three times the rate of flame retardants in their blood stream than average and found that the 110 female firefighters in the study experienced a risk of breast cancer that was nearly six times higher than the general population.

In addition, there is precedent for banning dangerous flame retardants. New York State has previously banned the use of the brominated flame retardant PentaBDE, and banned the use of Tris (TCEP) in children's products. This bill, which was developed after Assembly hearings, would prohibit the use of chemical flame retardants in residential upholstered furniture in order to decrease adverse health impacts and to ensure that chemical fire retardant-laden furniture developed for the prior California standard does not continue to be sold in New York once California revises their standard. (California has recently proposed revisions to TB 117 to reflect more accurate fire conditions and the development of the Fire Safe Cigarette Act, which has contributed to decreased cigarette-related fires.) In addition, this bill would also require residential upholstered furniture manufacturers to comply with an open flame standard beginning in 2016, reflective of a similar standard for residential mattresses adopted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Although the advent of fire safe cigarettes has led to a decrease in fire deaths, open flame fires continue to remain deadly. Statistics indicate that approximately 25 percent of fire deaths involve upholstered furniture, with approximately 50 percent caused by open flames such as candles and 50 percent from smoldering such as cigarettes. In order to encourage innovative, chemical-free responses, the method by which manufacturers could comply with the standard would not be specified; however, a requirement of providing at least 15 minutes before the furniture reaches ignition temperature and fire spreads rapidly would be included in order to ensure that people have sufficient time to escape safely. This timeframe would also provide additional time for emergency responders to arrive.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

This is new legislation.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:

None to the State.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately; provided however, that section 37-0905 shall take effect June 1, 2016, and the Department of Environmental Conservation may adopt regulations necessary to implement the act prior to the effective date.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4780 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 23, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. GRISANTI, GIPSON, LATIMER, MARTINS, SAMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to prohibiting the use of chemical flame retardants THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Article 37 of the environmental conservation law is amended by adding a new title 9 to read as follows: TITLE 9 CHEMICAL FLAME RETARDANTS SECTION 37-0901. DEFINITIONS. 37-0903. PROHIBITION ON THE USE OF CHEMICAL FLAME RETARDANTS. 37-0905. INCREASED FIRE SAFETY. S 37-0901. DEFINITIONS. AS USED IN THIS TITLE: 1. "CHEMICAL FLAME RETARDANTS" SHALL MEAN ANY HALOGENATED CHEMICAL FLAME RETARDANT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO TDCPP TRIS (1, 3 DICHOLO- RO-2-PROPYL) PHOSPHATE, AND ANY PHOSPHORUS-BROMINE FLAME RETARDANTS. 2. "RESIDENTIAL UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE" SHALL MEAN A SOFA, LOVESEAT, CHAIR, OTTOMAN, FOOTSTOOL, OR OTHER ITEM OF FURNITURE, INTENDED FOR INDOOR USE IN A HOME THAT CONSISTS, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, OF LEATHER, PLASTIC, FABRIC OR OTHER MATERIAL THAT CONTAINS COTTON, WOOL, POLYURE- THANE OR OTHER NATURAL OR SYNTHETIC MATERIAL THAT IS PLACED IN CUSHIONS OR ON THE FRAME OF THE FURNITURE. S 37-0903. PROHIBITION ON THE USE OF CHEMICAL FLAME RETARDANTS. 1. BEGINNING JULY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN, NO PERSON, FIRM, PART- NERSHIP, ASSOCIATION, LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY OR CORPORATION SHALL SELL OR OFFER FOR SALE ANY RESIDENTIAL UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE THAT CONTAINS CHEMICAL FLAME RETARDANTS INTENTIONALLY-ADDED IN ORDER TO PROVIDE A SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTIC, APPEARANCE OR QUALITY, TO PERFORM A SPECIFIC FUNCTION, OR FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE.
2. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO THE SALE OR DISTRIBUTION OF RESIDENTIAL UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE RESOLD OR OFFERED FOR RESALE, OR DISTRIBUTED BY CONSUMERS FOR CONSUMER USE. S 37-0905. INCREASED FIRE SAFETY. 1. BEGINNING DECEMBER FIRST, TWO THOUSAND SIXTEEN, EACH MANUFACTURER OF RESIDENTIAL UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE THAT IS SOLD OR OFFERED FOR SALE IN THE STATE SHALL CERTIFY TO THE DEPARTMENT THAT ANY RESIDENTIAL UPHOL- STERED FURNITURE SOLD OR OFFERED FOR SALE IN THE STATE MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE OPEN FLAME FLAMMABILITY STANDARD. 2. A. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "OPEN FLAME FLAMMABILITY STANDARD" SHALL MEAN A STANDARD, DEVELOPED PURSUANT TO RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE OFFICE OF FIRE PREVENTION AND CONTROL, REQUIRING RESIDENTIAL UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE TO NOT LEAD TO FLASHOVER FOR AT LEAST FIFTEEN MINUTES OF TIME. SUCH STANDARD SHALL BE REVIEWED FOR EFFECTIVENESS NO LESS THAN EVERY TWO YEARS, WITH SUCH REVIEW INCLUDING, AT A MINIMUM, EXAMINATION OF THE STANDARDS USED IN OTHER STATES. B. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION "FLASHOVER" SHALL MEAN THE POINT AT WHICH ALL EXPOSED SURFACES OF THE RESIDENTIAL UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE REACH IGNITION TEMPERATURES AND FIRE SPREADS RAPIDLY. C. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION "MANUFACTURER" SHALL MEAN A PERSON, FIRM, PARTNERSHIP, ASSOCIATION, LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY OR CORPORATION THAT ASSEMBLES OR SUBSTANTIALLY ASSEMBLES RESIDENTIAL UPHOL- STERED FURNITURE FOR SALE IN THE STATE OR IMPORTS RESIDENTIAL UPHOL- STERED FURNITURE FOR SALE IN THE STATE. 3. THE DEPARTMENT MAY, FOLLOWING PUBLIC HEARINGS, ADOPT RULES AND REGULATIONS AUTHORIZING AN EXEMPTION TO SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION 37-0903 OF THIS TITLE UPON A DETERMINATION BY THE COMMISSIONER THAT THE PROPOSED CHEMICAL FLAME RETARDANT WILL NOT NEGATIVELY AFFECT HUMAN HEALTH OR THE ENVIRONMENT. SUCH DETERMINATION MAY ONLY BE MADE AFTER THE COMPLETION OF A COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH IMPACT ASSESSMENT CONDUCTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, FOLLOWING A MODEL RECOMMENDED BY THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately; provided however, that section 37-0905 of the environmental conservation law as added by section one of this act shall take effect June 1, 2016; provided, howev- er, that the commissioner of environmental conservation is authorized and directed to promulgate any rules and regulations necessary to imple- ment the provisions of this act on or before such effective date.

Comments

Open Legislation comments facilitate discussion of New York State legislation. All comments are subject to moderation. Comments deemed off-topic, commercial, campaign-related, self-promotional; or that contain profanity or hate speech; or that link to sites outside of the nysenate.gov domain are not permitted, and will not be published. Comment moderation is generally performed Monday through Friday.

By contributing or voting you agree to the Terms of Participation and verify you are over 13.

Discuss!

blog comments powered by Disqus