Posted on 02/12/2019
US CPSC takes no decision on open flame testing

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the body which can fix federal product safety standards, has been discussing and studying a possible federal open flame fire safety requirement for furniture for 25 years, after granting a petition from the US National Association of Fire Safety Marshalls in 1994. The Commission voted on 4th October 2019 on a “Staff Briefing” recommending to terminate rulemaking on upholstered furniture flammability and to not promulgate any other standard (in particular, the current California smouldering cigarette test) as a federal requirement, but the vote failed to reach a majority (two against terminating rulemaking, one for, two other votes). The staff briefing document estimates that upholstered furniture is the first item ignited in around 4 400 declared fires per year (USA), leading to 470 deaths, 660 injuries and nearly 240 million US$ property losses. The Staff Briefing document concludes that the California cigarette test (CA TB 117-2013) does not relate to furniture in the real world, does not give consistent results and does not offer improved safety (because 90% of the furniture on the market would pass the test).

CPSC “Staff Briefing Package. Upholstered Furniture Flammability; Staff Activities and Recommendation. September 2019”, 12 pages
“Record of Commission Action. Upholstered Furniture Update 2019”, 4 October 2019