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New York may consider furniture flammability rule

Heath E. Combs -- Furniture Today, February 21, 2013

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — California may not be the only state considering a new flammability regulation for furniture.

A coalition of firefighter associations in New York has listed upholstered furniture fire safety standards as their top priority in the New York legislature, according to Chris Andresen, senior associate with Dutko Grayling, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy firm.

Andresen was one of several speakers who addressed the FR issue at the American Home Furnishings Alliance's 2013 Sustainability Summit here Wednesday.

He and others spoke to a packed house, as the future of flame retardants in furniture took center stage in the day's presentations.

Andresen said a concept paper has been presented in New York by firefighters associations - albeit with no formal legislative language yet - that could ban the sale of furniture that becomes fully involved in flames in less than 20 minutes.

It also would ban the use of toxic chemicals, he said. There are no indicators on timing or how the effort would proceed, although Andresen said legislators will be pressured to act on it during this session.

"We know that they've met with the Assembly and Senate and made powerful presentations to members of both bodies," he said.

Andresen added that it's important that the national FR standard being crafted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission gets finished, so varying approaches by states don't create competing standards.

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