Sacramento, California – California is to ban the sale of various products containing flame retardants. As of January 2020, it will be an offence to sell new mattresses, upholstered furniture and children’s products that contain more than 1000ppm of a number of flame retardants.
The list of covered FR chemicals includes halogenated, organophosphorus, organonitrogen and nanoscale products, plus those on the Washington State list of chemicals of high concern to children. It also includes designated chemicals under the state’s biomonitoring programme.
For mattresses, the restriction is only on the foam components, with the other parts being exempted. Mattresses have to meet federal flammability standards, including an open flame test, which is difficult to achieve without flame retardants.
The state has been trying to get the open flame test removed from the requirements for upholstered products, as it encourages greater use of flame retardants to enable products to pass the test.
The International Sleep Products Association is required to survey mattress producers by the end of January 2020, and again every three years. This will collect data about the materials mattress manufacturers use to meet flammability standards, and also the FRs that are used above 1000ppm.
The bill states that compliance with its updated flammability standard, TB 117-2013, is largely being achieved without the use of flame retardant chemicals. ‘However, some product manufacturers still use FR chemicals in upholstered furniture and juvenile products, even though these chemicals are not necessary for fire safety or compliance with TB 117-2013,’ the bill says.