Enacts the upholstered furniture safety act; requires furniture sold in this state shall meet certain smolder resistant standards.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to the upholstered furniture safety act
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 require upholstered furniture for sale in the state of New York to meet the most recently adopted smolder standard established by the California department of consumer affairs, bureau of electronic and appliance repair, home furnishings and thermal insulation. This bill further directs the New York state division of homeland security and emergency services to prepare a report assessing emerging fire barrier materials and other relevant technologies.
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.
California has recently adopted revisions to TB 117, setting forth a new smolder standard that will allow manufactures to make upholstered furniture without the use of chemical flame retardants. This bill will require upholstered furniture for sale in New York to meet the recently adopted California standard. Removing toxic chemicals from upholstered furniture will protect public health and make it safer for emergency responders to fight fires.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
This is new legislation.
None to the State.
This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4780--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 23, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sens. GRISANTI, AVELLA, CARLUCCI, ESPAILLAT, GIPSON, HOYL- MAN, LATIMER, MARTINS, O'BRIEN, SAMPSON, VALESKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation -- recommitted to the Committee on Environ- mental Conservation in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to the upholstered furniture safety act 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 UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE SAFETY ACT SECTION 37-0901. DEFINITIONS. 37-0903. SMOLDER RESISTANCE STANDARDS. S 37-0901. DEFINITIONS. AS USED IN THIS TITLE: 1. "UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE" MEANS ANY FURNITURE, INCLUDING CHILDREN'S FURNITURE, MOVABLE OR STATIONARY, WHICH IS MADE OR SOLD WITH CUSHIONS OR PILLOWS, LOOSE OR ATTACHED, OR IS ITSELF STUFFED OR FILLED IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITH ANY MATERIAL, IS OR CAN BE STUFFED OR FILLED IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITH ANY SUBSTANCE OR MATERIAL, HIDDEN OR CONCEALED BY FABRIC OR ANY OTHER COVERING, INCLUDING CUSHIONS OR PILLOWS BELONGING TO OR FORM- ING A PART THEREOF, TOGETHER WITH THE STRUCTURAL UNITS, THE FILLING MATERIAL AND ITS CONTAINER AND ITS COVERING WHICH CAN BE USED AS A SUPPORT FOR THE BODY OF A HUMAN BEING, OR HIS OR HER LIMBS AND FEET WHEN SITTING OR RESTING IN AN UPRIGHT OR RECLINING POSITION. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE SHALL NOT INCLUDE:EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD10248-11-4 S. 4780--A 2
(A) FURNITURE USED EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF PHYSICAL FITNESS AND EXERCISE; (B) CUSHIONS AND PADS INTENDED SOLELY FOR OUTDOOR USE; (C) ANY ARTICLE WHICH IS SMOOTH SURFACED AND CONTAINS NO MORE THAN ONE-HALF INCH OF FILLING MATERIAL, PROVIDED THAT SUCH ARTICLE DOES NOT HAVE A HORIZONTAL SURFACE MEETING A VERTICAL SURFACE; (D) BASSINETS, BOOSTER SEATS, CAR SEATS, CHANGING PADS, FLOOR PLAY MATS, HIGHCHAIRS, HIGHCHAIR PADS, INFANT BOUNCERS, INFANT CARRIERS, INFANT SEATS, INFANT SWINGS, INFANT WALKERS, NURSING PADS, NURSING PILLOWS, PLAYPEN SIDE PADS, PLAYARDS, PORTABLE HOOK-ON CHAIRS, AND STROLLERS; AND (E) ANY ARTICLE MANUFACTURED IN ACCORDANCE WITH A WRITTEN PRESCRIPTION FROM ANY ONE OF THE HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS SET FORTH IN THIS SUBDIVI- SION, OR MANUFACTURED IN ACCORDANCE WITH OTHER COMPARABLE WRITTEN MEDICAL THERAPEUTIC SPECIFICATION, TO BE USED IN CONNECTION WITH THE TREATMENT OR MANAGEMENT OF A NAMED INDIVIDUAL'S PHYSICAL ILLNESS OR INJURY. ANY ONE OF THE FOLLOWING HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS MAY PROVIDE THE WRITTEN PRESCRIPTION REQUIRED BY THIS SUBDIVISION PROVIDED THAT THE HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL HAS A CURRENT AND VALID LICENSE TO PRACTICE IN NEW YORK OR ANY OTHER STATE OF THE UNITED STATES IN WHICH THE PRESCRIPTION WAS WRITTEN: PHYSICIANS, CHIROPRACTORS OR OSTEOPATHS. 2. "RETAILER" MEANS A PERSON WHO SELLS ANY ARTICLE OF UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE TO A CONSUMER OR USER OF THE ARTICLE AS PURCHASED. S 37-0903. SMOLDER RESISTANCE STANDARDS. 1. BEGINNING JANUARY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN, ANY UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE MANUFACTURED FOR SALE IN THE STATE AND SOLD OR OFFERED FOR SALE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC AT RETAIL OUTLETS IN THE STATE SHALL MEET THE MOST RECENTLY ADOPTED STANDARDS FOR THE SMOLDER RESISTANCE OF MATERIALS USED IN UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE ESTABLISHED BY THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS, BUREAU OF ELECTRONIC AND APPLIANCE REPAIR, HOME FURNISHINGS AND THERMAL INSULATION, AND SHALL INCLUDE AN AFFIXED LABEL DEMONSTRATING COMPLIANCE WITH SUCH STANDARD. 2. THE REQUIREMENTS OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO: (A) ANY UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE IN A RETAILER'S INVENTORY PRIOR TO JANU- ARY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN AND SOLD OR OFFERED FOR SALE AFTER SUCH DATE; OR (B) ANY UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE THAT IS REPAIRED, REUPHOLSTERED, RE-COVERED, RESTORED, RENEWED OR MADE TO ORDER AND SPECIFICATION OF THE USER USING EITHER NEW MATERIALS OR THE OWNER'S MATERIALS. S 2. The commissioner of the New York state division of homeland security and emergency services, in consultation with the New York state office of fire prevention and control, shall on or before February 1, 2016, prepare a report to be delivered to the governor and legislature assessing emerging fire barrier materials and other relevant technolo- gies to examine their open flame resistant properties, evaluate their cost effectiveness and determine their applicability in open flame test- ing of upholstered furniture as defined in section 37-0901 of the envi- ronmental conservation law, as added by section one of this act. The commissioner may consult with interested stakeholders. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.