The Consumer Product Safety Commission (Commission or CPSC) issued a direct final rule to codify in the Code of Federal Regulations the statutory requirements for the flammability of upholstered furniture under the COVID–19 Regulatory Relief and Work From Home Safety Act (“the Act”). The Commission codified the Standard for the Flammability of Upholstered Furniture under 16 CFR part 1640.
“Upholstered furniture” is defined in the COVID–19 Regulatory Relief and Work From Home Safety Act in Section 2101 (b)(4). This definition can also be found in 16 CFR part 1640.3(e). In-scope “upholstered furniture,” excluding specific exemptions in the Act, includes general-use and children’s seating furniture that meets the specifications below:
(i) is intended for indoor use;
(ii) is movable or stationary;
(iii) is constructed with an upholstered seat, back, or arm;
(iv) is—(I) made or sold with a cushion or pillow, without regard to whether that cushion or pillow, as applicable, is attached or detached with respect to the article of furniture; or (II) stuffed or filled, or able to be stuffed or filled, in whole or in part, with any material, including a substance or material that is hidden or concealed by fabric or another covering, including a cushion or pillow belonging to, or forming a part of, the article of furniture; and
(v) together with the structural units of the article of furniture, any filling material, and the container and covering with respect to those structural units and that filling material, can be used as a support for the body of an individual, or the limbs and feet of an individual, when the individual sits in an upright or reclining position.
The Act covers upholstered furniture made in whole or in part of fabric or related material intended for use or that may reasonably be expected to be used in homes or other places of assembly or public accommodation where consumers will customarily use the upholstered furniture. California Code of Regulations 1374.2, the terms of which are codified in 16 CFR part 1640, provides limited exemptions, including cushions and pads used exclusively for outdoor use, certain durable infant and toddler products, certain products with no more than ½” of filling material, and products obtained by a written prescription from a healthcare professional. Durable infant and toddler products that are exempted in California Code of Regulations 1374.2 include “bassinets, booster seats, car seats, changing pads, floor play mats, highchairs, highchair pads, infant bouncers, infant carriers, infant seats, infant swings, infant walkers, nursing pads, nursing pillows, playpen side pads, playards, portable hook-on chairs, and strollers.”
The upholstered furniture flammability standard (16 CFR part 1640), except for the requirement to include a certification label, is effective as of June 25, 2021. These requirements do not apply to items manufactured, imported, or reupholstered before June 25, 2021. Items manufactured, imported, or reupholstered on or after June 25, 2021, must comply with the test method specified in California TB 117-2013. The labeling requirement in § 1640.4 is effective as of June 25, 2022, and the requirement applies to upholstered furniture manufactured, imported, or reupholstered on or after that date.
Under 16 CFR part 1640, upholstered furniture subject to the Standard must comply with the requirements in the California Standard Technical Bulletin (TB) 117-2013.
16 CFR part 1640 incorporates by reference TB 117-2013, as originally published in June 2013. A later version of TB 117-2013, dated January 2019, reflects the name change of BEARHFTI to Bureau Household Goods and Services (BHGS) on the cover page, but it is otherwise identical to the June 2013 version. As such, either the June 2013 or January 2019 version may be used. However, future revisions of TB 117-2013 will not change 16 CFR part 1640.
Under 16 CFR part 1640, upholstered furniture subject to the standard must have a permanent label with the language: “Complies with U.S. CPSC requirements for upholstered furniture flammability." CPSC staff recommends that the certification statement be conspicuous and legible. The statement should be at least 1/8-inch high and not smaller than other text on the label; it should be in black text on a white background and surrounded with black border. The label may be a separate label, or it can be added to the bottom of an existing California TB 117-2013 label required by SB-1019. The required statement must appear on the front of the label in English and cannot be on the back side. However, additional languages may be on the back side of the label.
See label examples below:
Example of Separate Label:
Example of Combined Label:
The label must be affixed securely to the article of upholstered furniture so that the label will remain attached throughout conditions of merchandizing and distribution to the ultimate consumer. The label should be located prominently on the product and be conspicuous to the consumer. Hangtags and zip ties are not considered permanently affixed.
The CPSC labeling requirement is in addition to any other labeling requirements imposed by law, including the state of California’s labeling requirements.
The requirements of TB 117-2013 are not subject to the testing and certification requirements of Section 14(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). Thus, a certificate that is based on a test of each product, or upon a reasonable testing program, or CPSC-accepted third-party testing laboratory, is not required to demonstrate compliance with TB 117-2013. Manufacturers are required only to have a certification label with the statement: “Complies with U.S. CPSC requirements for upholstered furniture flammability.” For upholstered furniture that must comply with additional CPSC requirements other than TB 117-2013, such as children’s product testing for lead or phthalates, those requirements for testing and product certification remain unchanged.
The label with the certification statement: “Complies with U.S. CPSC requirements for upholstered furniture flammability" is proof of compliance. A best practice is to maintain records for at least as long as the product remains in production.
Manufacturers, importers, and reupholsterers are responsible for ensuring that products comply with the requirements for upholstered furniture.
CPSC does not provide lists of components that pass their respective tests in TB 117-2013 that would be used to create upholstered furniture in compliance with 16 CFR part 1640.
The CPSC’s small batch manufacturers registry allows qualified, registered, small batch manufacturers the ability not to third-party test for compliance with certain children's product safety rules. The Standard for the Flammability of Upholstered Furniture does not include a third-party testing requirement, and so, the small batch manufacturer’s program does not apply to the Standard, including for children’s upholstered furniture. Refer to the answer above regarding the question: “What testing and certification requirements apply to upholstered furniture?”
TB 117-2013 specifies the ignition source as SRM 1196 or a cigarette which meets the specifications listed in Table 1 of Annex B. SRM 1196a has been shown to be equivalent to 1196 and meets the specifications listed in Table 1 of Annex B of TB 117-2013.
Barrier materials used for compliance must pass the TB 117-2013 Section 2 test. Barrier material must fully encase the resilient filling material, except for limited exceptions, discussed in Section 2.1, for non-reversible and non-detachable seating cushions. TB 117-2013 Section 2.1 states: “Upholstery cover fabrics that fail the cover fabric test described in Section 1 can be used in upholstered furniture if a barrier (interliner) material that passes this test method is used. When a barrier is required, the barrier material must cover all sides and top of the seating cushion(s).” Similarly, section 3.1 states: “Resilient filling materials that fail the test . . . can be used in upholstered furniture if a barrier (interliner) material that passes Section 2 of this test method is used between the cover fabric and the filling materials.”
The TB 117-2013 Section 1 test applies to cover fabrics and cover materials, such as fabric, leather, vinyl, and other woven, knit and nonwoven materials used as the outermost layer in an in-scope upholstered furniture article. TB 117-2013 Section C.2 describes “upholstery cover material” as “the outermost layer of fabric or related material used to enclose the main support system or upholstery materials, or both, used in the furniture item.”
The COVID–19 Regulatory Relief and Work From Home Safety Act states: “mattresses,” as defined in 16 CFR section 1633.2, are not considered upholstered furniture. A futon mattress and any other product considered a mattress under section 1633.2, would not be considered upholstered furniture subject to testing under the Act.
Small, decorative, throw pillows that are sold separately and are not intended for seating are not included within the scope of 16 CFR part 1640. Cushions or pillows that are sold separately and are intended for indoor seating would likely be considered within the scope of 16 CFR part 1640, unless they do not meet the definition of “upholstered furniture” in § 1640.3(e) or are otherwise exempted.
Reupholstered furniture, including antiques, must comply with 16 CFR part 1640 if the furniture is reupholstered for sale. Any furniture that is reupholstered for sale, or intended for sale, either by the reupholster or the owner of the furniture who hires the services of the reupholsterer, must comply with the regulation. If the furniture is reupholstered for personal use, it is not subject to the requirements. Personal use includes when the person who reupholsters the furniture intends to retain the reupholstered furniture for their own use, or if a customer hires the services of the reupholsterer and the customer intends to take back the reupholstered furniture for their own use after reupholstery.
Cover fabrics and resilient filling materials which have been added to in-scope reupholstered furniture need to meet the requirements of TB 117-2013. The reupholsterer is not responsible for ensuring that originally used cover fabrics and resilient filling materials which have not been added in the re-upholstery process are compliant with the flammability requirements.
16 CFR part 1640 codifies the preemption provisions in the Act, which preempts states and other jurisdictions from establishing or continuing in effect their own flammability regulations designed to protect against the risk of fire from upholstered furniture. As stated in the Act: "no State or any political subdivision of a State may establish or continue in effect any provision of a flammability law, regulation, code, standard, or requirement that is designed to protect against the risk of occurrence of fire, or to slow or prevent the spread of fire, with respect to upholstered furniture." The Act does not preempt any state or local law, regulation, code, standard, or requirement that concerns health risks apart from flammability associated with upholstered furniture.
The Standard for the Flammability of Upholstered Furniture includes a flammability performance requirement (TB 117-2013) and a labeling requirement; however, it does not include a chemical composition requirement. There are many different types of materials that can meet their respective tests in TB 117-2013 (i.e., cover fabrics, barrier materials, resilient filling materials, and decking materials with and without added flame-retardant chemicals). The requirements do not specify or prohibit the use of individual components to meet the requirements. For information on CPSC’s other work related to organohalogen flame retardants, reference Frequently Asked Questions on Organohalogen Flame Retardants (OFRs).
CPSC staff hosted an educational webinar on the CPSC’s flammability requirements for upholstered furniture, and interested parties can view a full recording on CPSC's YouTube page. Additional materials, including a presentation in simplified Chinese, are available here under “Episode 16: U.S. Flammability Requirements for Upholstered Furniture.”
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Maureen Danskin MDanskin@cpsc.gov
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Emily Maling EMaling@cpsc.gov
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