California Technical Bulletin 117-2013
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On November 21, 2013, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced approval of the state’s new flammability standard for upholstered furniture, culminating a year-long effort to address growing concerns about consumer exposure to flame retardant chemicals.
The “new” standard, developed by the California Bureau of Electronic Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation (BEAR-HFTI), is based largely on the requirements and testing methodology within a voluntary industry program developed by the Upholstered Furniture Action Council in 1978 and later incorporated into ASTM E1353-08a: Standard Test Method for Cigarette Ignition Resistance of Components of Upholstered Furniture.
AHFA supported the revision to TB 117, and AHFA staff assisted BEAR-HFTI on various technical aspects of the testing methodology for the standard. AHFA believes the updated standard addresses concerns surrounding flame retardant chemicals while not compromising fire safety for California consumers.
California’s previous standard, adopted in 1975, included an open flame test for filling materials such as foam. Most filling materials could not pass the open flame test without the use of flame retardant chemicals in the foam. Because most manufacturers considered it cost-prohibitive to maintain separate foam supplies and production lines for California, TB 117 became the de facto national standard.
The new standard not only eliminates the need for flame retardant chemicals, it also addresses where fires actually begin, which is the cover fabric, not the foam, and focuses on the interaction of the cover fabric with the filling material.
The new standard went into effect January 1, 2014. Manufacturers have one year to complete the transition to the new testing procedures. The standard can be read in full here.
Throughout nearly four decades of debate over how best to reduce the number of residential fires that involve upholstered furniture, AHFA has advocated a focus on preventing smolder ignition and maintained that product modifications should be made only as they are proven safe, effective and affordable for the greatest number of consumers.
The TB 117 revision meets these objectives and also satisfies Governor Brown’s mandate for a flammability standard that can be met without the use of flame retardant chemicals.
This section includes links to the most recent regulatory activity related to TB 117-2013.
California Senate Bill 1019
California Senator Mark Leno introduced legislation in March 2014 that would require manufacturers to label upholstered products to indicate whether they contain added flame retardant chemicals. If adopted, the language must be added to the TB 117-2013 compliance label.
This section includes alerts sent to the AHFA membership on the topic of TB 117-2013.» Notice of Determination – Flame Retardant Ordinance Petition
(Members only; log in to access.) April 26, 2019 » California Officials Release Labeling Guidance
(Members only; log in to access.) November 5, 2014 » AHFA’s Labeling Guidance Reviewed by California Officials
(Members only; log in to access.) October 22, 2014 » Chemtura Seeks to Overturn TB 117-2013
(Members only; log in to access.) January 17, 2014 » California Adopts TB 117-2013
(Members only; log in to access.) December 2013
This section includes links to documents that help AHFA member companies meet the challenges of complying with TB 117-2013 and SB 1019.» California TB 117-2013 FAQs
(Members only; log in to access.) » AHFA Flammabililty Label Compliance Guidance
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Reviewing the Changes to California’s TB 117-2013
January 21, 2014
This webinar focuses on changes to the California flammability regulation, highlighting the differences between the original Technical Bulletin 117 and the new TB 117-2013. A compliance timeline is presented, and key questions about the 12-month transition period, which began January 1, 2014, are answered. Presented by Tonya Blood, former Bureau Chief, and Said Nurbakhsh, flammability research test engineer of the California Bureau of Electronics and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation.
View Webinar (Includes Q&A Session, Presentation PDF and FAQs)
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