Thanks to top-notch investigative reporting by the Chicago Tribune and leadership from Governor Jerry Brown, California will very soon have an effective fire safety standard that does not put our health (or safety) at risk. The California Bureau of Home Furnishings, the agency tasked by Gov. Brown to revise the state’s outdated flammability standard, Technical Bulletin (TB 117), is expected to release proposed regulations this week. The new draft standard (TB 117-2013), designed with input from a number of stakeholders, and based on scientific analysis, is expected to address the real cause of most fires: cigarettes left smoldering on furniture fabric.
Chances are that if you’re reading this you know that the foam inside your couch has about one pound of toxic flame retardant chemicals (see here and here), and that those chemicals can’t effectively protect you from fires. Since fires don’t start inside furniture, this new flammability standard will be more effective in protecting people. Chemicals used as flame retardants have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, lowered IQ and hyperactivity. As a result, we are exposed to dangerous chemicals in our homes and our environment that we all eventually ingest, including our children and even our pets. But, all of that is about to change.
We’re excited to see California continue to move forward in a matter that impacts millions of people in California and across the country. Our team of experts will review the draft regulations as soon as they are released and provide a reaction. Look for an update from us and link to NRDC’s action alert soon thereafter.
Update: The new draft regulations were released this morning. Please visit NRDC's action page here to watch a video and take action to support new flammability rules that improve fire safety and health.