Calif. cancer label law affects some upholstery
Heath E. Combs -- Furniture Today, November 5, 2012
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A new labeling requirement in California for upholstered furniture containing a certain flame retardant chemical in its foam cushioning took effect Oct. 28.
Products containing tris phosphate, or TDCPP, must be labeled to comply with the state's Proposition 65 warning requirements.
The warning language should read: "WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer," the AHFA said.
Under Proposition 65, the state lists chemicals that are known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. Tris phosphate was added to the list last year by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
Flame retardants in furniture foam have become a much scrutinized area of concern following a series of articles in the Chicago Tribune earlier this year that documented decades of rulemaking dominated by special interests, including chemical manufacturers.
TDCPP is used to help meet California's TB 117 upholstery flammability standard.
With Proposition 65, companies are required to warn consumers "prior to exposure," the American Home Furnishings Alliance noted in an August member alert.
Several large retailers, Target and Walmart among them, with stores in California recently began sending letters to suppliers requesting labels that provide a warning if a product they sell contains the chemical.
The AHFA member alert said the warning can be provided by labeling products or posting signs at the point of sale.
The AHFA said Prop 65 doesn't mandate exactly where the warning should be placed, but that the state requires it to be "prominently placed upon a product's label or other labeling or displayed at the retail outlet with such conspicuousness... as to render it likely to be read and understood."
More information is provided by the AHFA's The Furniture Executive publication, online at http://www.ahfa.us/uploads/documents/furnexec.pdf.