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Furniture Stability, AHFA, Product Safety

CPSC Staff Issues Favorable Review of F2057-23

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff has completed its review of the ASTM International voluntary standard for clothing storage furniture, F2057-23, as required by the STURDY Act, and on Wednesday advised the commissioners it could be adopted as a mandatory product safety standard.

STURDY is the “Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth” Act, legislation enacted in December as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2023.

“Today’s news from the CPSC announcing the staff’s favorable review of ASTM F2057-23 is welcome news for industry, safety advocates, parents, and consumers,” said Andy Counts, CEO of the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA).

“All these stakeholders worked collaboratively to get STURDY passed by Congress with rare bipartisan support. Then they worked to ensure F2057 was revised with attention to each performance requirement in STURDY. Finally, they worked in partnership over the last three months to urge CPSC to adopt F2057-23 in the interest of child safety. With unprecedented cooperation, joint advocacy and commitment, the coalition now appeals to the commissioners to adopt ASTM F2057-23 in place of the current CPSC rule that is scheduled to take effect on May 24.”

STURDY requires the CPSC to determine whether a voluntary standard exists that meets the requirements that Congress specified within the statute. If such a voluntary standard exists, then the commission must, within 90 days of its determination, promulgate a final consumer product safety standard that adopts that voluntary standard.

In a briefing memorandum forwarded to the four commissioners Wednesday, CPSC staff advises that the commission “could” determine that ASTM F2057-23 “satisfies STURDY’s requirements.” If the commissioners approve that determination, staff recommends publishing a direct final rule that adopts the performance requirements in F2057-23 as the Safety Standard for Clothing Storage Units required by STURDY – thereby replacing the current CPSC rule that goes into effect May 24. As specified in STURDY, this direct final rule would be effective 120 days after its publication in the Federal Register. It would eliminate the May 24 deadline for complying with the current CPSC rule.   

The commission’s vote is scheduled for Tuesday, March 28, but could be delayed if additional time is requested by one of the four commissioners.

Counts noted: “Companies that have dedicated untold resources over the last 20 months to redesigning and re-engineering products in anticipation of the May 24 implementation of the CPSC’s original rule have not worked in vain. If the commission takes the recommended action, product modifications will still be necessary to pass the three stability tests in F2057-23.”

As required by STURDY, those tests simulate the weight of children up to 60 pounds. The tests simulate “real-world use” by accounting for the impact on stability when drawers are loaded, when units are on carpeted surfaces, when multiple drawers are open and when a 72-month-old child is climbing or playing on the unit.

“In April 2021, a dedicated group of product engineers from AHFA member companies met at a UL lab for the sole purpose of developing a series of product performance tests that would meet the requirements outlined in STURDY,” notes AHFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Bill Perdue.

“Subsequent work by the AHFA Furniture Safety Task Group and the entire ASTM Furniture Safety Subcommittee ultimately resulted in a dramatically revised ASTM voluntary standard adopted in February this year. CPSC staff noted that the tests in F2057-23 meet STURDY’s requirements and are objective, repeatable, reproducible and measurable,” Perdue said. “The individual members of these task groups dedicated time, effort and expertise to ensure the mandatory safety standard required by STURDY provided rigorous performance tests with a clear pathway to compliance for the industry.”