CPSC chairman updates AHFA board on flammability progress
Heath E. Combs -- Furniture Today, May 24, 2013
HIGH POINT — U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Inez Tenenbaum told furniture manufacturers this week that it is committed to developing a national upholstered furniture flammability standard that does not require the use of harmful chemicals.
Tenenbaum addressed members of the American Home Furnishings Alliance board of directors during the group's May meeting in Arlington, Va., the AHFA said in a press release.
The CPSC recently reopened its comment period on the proposed 2008 standard, known as 16 CFR 1634, until July 1 to ask if fire barriers placed between fabrics and foam ought to play a larger role.
Tenenbaum told manufacturers that insights gleaned from visiting several furniture factories and showrooms at AHFA's invitation in 2011 provided valuable insights that are helping the CPSC's work the rule.
"Throughout my tenure as chairman, I have made it clear that we are committed to developing an upholstered furniture standard that does not require the use of harmful chemicals," she said in the release.
"I want to see progress on this rule this year and want all stakeholders, including all of you, to stay engaged with CPSC as we move forward," she told the AHFA directors.
Tenenbaum also told manufacturers to aim for the highest level of safety in their designs to minimize health and safety risks to consumers. She thanked AHFA Vice President Bill Perdue for his leadership of the ASTM subcommittee on furniture safety and for its work on updating the furniture tip-over standard, the release said.
"I hope that each of you - whether you make adult furniture, children's furniture, or both - will use all of the communication tools at your disposal to encourage your customers to anchor their furniture and televisions," she said.
Tenenbaum also explained the CPSC's concept of "safety by design."
"As I have traveled around the United States and the world, I have shared with companies that it is vital to design out potential health and safety risks in each and every model - before manufacturing and assembly even starts," she said. In the residential furniture industry, that means ensuring that products are made without lead, cadmium, antimony, chromium and other toxic metals, she said.
Also addressing the AHFA board were Capitol Hill legislators including Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Mark Warner, D-Va., Richard Burr, R-N.C. and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Reps. Lee Terry, R-Neb., and Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss.
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