SACRAMENTO, CA – Despite opposition from two furniture groups, a California Senate Committee has approved a bill that dictates fire retardancy point-of-purchase signage in home furnishings stores, in addition to substantial declaration labels on upholstered furniture.
The bill has been re-referred to the state's Senate Rules Committee.
Both the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) and the North American Home Furnishings Association (NAHFA) said SB 1019, proposed by California State Senator Mark Leno, places an unfair burden on retailers.
"Although we support the intent of the legislation to disclose if a piece of upholstered furniture does or does not contain added flame retardant chemicals, SB 1019 goes well beyond this intent and is unworkable as written," a joint statement by AHFA, NAHFA and the Polyurethane Foam Association read.
SB 1019 requires that in addition to stating that the product meets California's furniture fire safety standard, manufacturers would indicate whether the product "contains added flame retardant chemicals" or "contains NO added flame retardant chemicals."
The bill by Sen. Leno also dictates the following statements be included on the label:
"The Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation found that flame retardant chemicals in furniture do not provide a meaningful fire safety benefit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), such flame retardant chemicals can migrate into air and house dust where people can be exposed to them."
In addition, upholstered furniture manufacturers would be required to provide point-of-sale signage with this statement for each product shipped to California retailers and the stores would be required to display the sign in a conspicuous place, "next to the price or description of the covered product."
According to AHFA, catalog retailers also would have to place the message on each page containing a description of an upholstered product and Internet retailers would need to place the message "in close proximity to the price" on each web page that contains a description of an upholstered product.
SB 1019 also states that furniture manufacturers that fail to disclose the use of flame retardant chemicals would face penalties including perjury, fines and/or citations.
This bill comes a year after California adopted Technical Bulletin 117-2013, a new fire safety standard that requires upholstered furniture to pass a smolder test.
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