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Issue 05, 2008 (13 March)
 CPSC Notices

CPSC Proposes Mandatory Flammability Standard for Upholstered Furniture. The CPSC has issued a proposed rule that would establish a new mandatory flammability standard for residential upholstered furniture. The rule would establish performance requirements and certification and labelling requirements for upholstered furniture. Such goods could meet the proposed standard by having either (1) upholstery cover materials that comply with the prescribed smouldering ignition resistance test or (2) an interior fire barrier between the cover fabric and the interior filling materials that complies with specified smouldering and small open flame ignition resistance tests.

The proposal would require upholstered furniture manufacturers and importers to:

  • certify that the article of upholstered furniture complies with the proposed standard;

  • maintain records demonstrating compliance with the applicable portions of the proposed standard;

  • test cover fabrics and, alternatively, barrier materials if they are used as a means of complying with the proposed standard; and

  • label upholstered furniture subject to the proposed standard with information identifying the manufacturer, the date of manufacture, the item and type of furniture and a statement certifying that the article complies with applicable requirements of the standard.

Upholstered furniture tests would be conducted using seating mock-ups of fabrics and filling materials, with the goal of reducing smoulder propensity of cover materials and limiting the mass loss from combustion (smouldering, melting or flaming) of the mock-up's interior filling materials. Pass/fail criteria would be based on maximum acceptable combustion time and mass loss percentages within a 45 minute test period.

The proposed standard would apply to residential upholstered furniture, including articles of interior seating furnishing intended for indoor use in a home or other residential occupancy that (i) consist in whole or in part of resilient cushioning materials (such as foam, batting or related materials) covered by fabric or related materials and (ii) are constructed with a contiguous upholstered seat and back or arms. Included within this definition are products that are intended or promoted for indoor residential use for sitting or reclining upon, such as chairs, sofas, motion furniture, sleep sofas, home office furniture customarily offered for sale through retailers or otherwise available for residential use, and upholstered furniture intended for use in dormitories or other residential occupancies.

Items that would not be covered by this standard include furniture intended solely for outdoor use (e.g., patio chairs); furniture without contiguous upholstered seating and backs and/or arm surfaces, such as ottomans, pillows or pads not sold with the article of furniture; commercial or industrial furniture not offered for sale through retailers or not otherwise available for residential use; furniture intended or sold solely for use in hotels and other short-term lodging and hospitality establishments; futons; flip chairs; the mattress portions of sleep sofas; and non-furniture infant or juvenile products such as walkers, strollers, high chairs or pillows.

This proposed rule would become effective one year after it is issued in final form and would apply to upholstered furniture manufactured or imported on or after that date. Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted by 19 May. The CPSC estimates that the standard would affect more than 1,600 manufacturers and importers of upholstered furniture and the 100-200 textile manufacturers that derive a significant share of their revenues from household furniture fabrics.

The CPSC has been working on an upholstered furniture flammability standard since 1994 and, in the course of its work, has sought to address concerns from industry, fire service organisations and consumer and environmental associations. Acting CPSC Chair Nancy Nord stated that she is especially pleased that the standard addresses upholstered furniture fires without requiring the use of fire retardant chemicals, which have been the subject of controversy in the past.

A copy of the proposal is available at

CPSC Recalls Various Products Made in China. The CPSC has announced the following recalls of products made in mainland China.

Gas Connectors. LDR Industries Inc. has issued a recall for about 50,000 LDR 1200 series gas connectors because they can leak propane or natural gas, posing a fire and explosion hazard to consumers. The recalled gas connectors have 3/8 inch fine thread nuts attached and are used primarily with gas space heaters. The brass nuts are gold coloured while the stainless steel tube is silver coloured. These items were sold at hardware stores in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida from August through September 2007.

Girls' Sweatshirts. Rebelette International Trading Corp. has recalled approximately 4,800 girls' hooded sweatshirts because they have a drawstring through the hood, which poses an strangulation hazard. The sweatshirts zip up the front and are either blue with pink stripes on the sleeves with "Red Hot Chili Steppers" printed on the front or brown with blue stripes on the sleeves with "Powder Puffs Touch League" on the front. They were sold in children's sizes small, medium, large, and sizes 4, 5, 6 and 6X at Marshalls Stores and specialty children's clothing retailers nationwide from July through September 2007.

Infant Rattles. Infantino LLC has recalled approximately 2,000 Lamb Grabby rattles because the tail piece on these rattles can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children. The recalled rattles are shaped like a lamb with an Infantino elliptical-shaped logo stamped on the front right foot of the lamb. They were sold at Wal-Mart, Babies "R" Us and other specialty stores nationwide from September 2007 through February 2008.

Electric Grills. QVC Inc. is recalling some 13,500 electric contact grills because cooking oils or sprays applied to the cooking plates before pre-heating can cause the oil to ignite and/or flare up. This recall involves a dual surface grill sold under the "Hulk Hogan's Ultimate Grill" brand. The grills are silver/grey in colour, have removable cooking plates and a cassette to catch drippings, and fold for storage or transport. They were sold by QVC through its television station, Web page, toll-free number and employee, retail and studio stores, as well as through Tristar's Web site and a direct response television commercial, from May through August 2007.

Air Compressors. Advance Stores Co. has issued a recall for about 64,000 Strike Force portable air compressors because the compressor's motor can overheat and ignite the protective cover, posing a fire hazard to consumers. Also, the cover might not prevent internal components from being touched, which poses an electrical shock hazard. The recall involves the 4.6 gallon, 3.5 HP Strike Force brand portable air compressor. These items were sold on-line and at Advance Auto Parts stores nationwide from October 2006 through December 2007.

Toasters. Hamilton Beach Brands Inc. has recalled some 482,000 Hamilton Beach and Proctor-Silex toasters because they can remain energised after popping up and ignite flammable items, posing a fire hazard. The recalled toasters are black, red, white, chrome or brushed chrome with two-slice or four-slice openings. They were sold by various on-line retailers and at department stores, mass merchandisers, grocery stores, home centre stores and other stores retail stores nationwide from August 2007 through February 2008.