Knoxville, Tennessee-Members of the Polyurethane Foam Association (PFA), long time supporters of a national, US performance-based small-open-flame standard for upholstered furniture, have recently changed their position.
They would like the standard to be temporarily suspended while the industry is in transition to replacements for the brominated and chlorinated fire retardants currently used in flexible foam.
Such a temporary suspension of the California small-open-flame requirement for furniture filling materials, "would give the industry much needed time to learn more about the safety and performance standards of alternative fire retardant technology, "said Bobby Bush, president of the PFA, in a statement from the association on 20 March. "A careful and prudent approach now, will help us create a safer, longer-lasting solution," he added.
The PFA's call for such a suspension follows the California Furniture Safety and Fire Prevention Act, introduced to the California legislature by Assemblyman Mark Leno (Democrat, San Francisco). This bill, introduced in February, calls for the elimination of brominated and chlorinated fire retardants used in the production of foam.
"Brominated and chlorinated fire retardants comprise about 90 to 95 percent of the foam industry's typical fire retardant usage, Bush continued. "If necessary, we can eliminate these materials from foam, but the industry needs a transition period for research and development," the PFA president explained.
"It would be helpful if the California small open flame requirement in its TB117 flammability standard for resilient filling materials could be temporarily suspended during the transition period," Bush went on to say, pointing out that, "The cigarette smoulder portion of the test should remain in place."
Bush stressed the responsible approach of PFA members to compliance with standards, emphasising their "pride in their record of responsible environmental performance and concern for community health."
PIC: PFA president Bobby Bush calls for flexibility on fire testing"