senate Bill S4780

Amended

Relates to prohibiting the use of chemical flame retardants on residential upholstered furniture

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 23 / Apr / 2013
    • REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • 30 / May / 2013
    • REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • 22 / May / 2014
    • AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • 22 / May / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 4780A
  • 03 / Jun / 2014
    • REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE

Summary

Enacts the upholstered furniture safety act; requires furniture sold in this state shall meet certain smolder resistant standards.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A6557
Versions:
S4780
S4780A
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Finance
Law Section:
Environmental Conservation Law
Laws Affected:
Add Art 37 Title 9 ยงยง37-0901 - 37-0905, En Con L

Votes

9
1
9
Aye
1
Nay
2
aye with reservations
0
absent
0
excused
0
abstained
show Environmental Conservation committee vote details

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4780

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in
relation to prohibiting the use of chemical flame retardants

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

The purpose of this bill is to limit residential exposure to chemical
flame retardants and to increase fire safety.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

This bill would:

*prohibit the sale of residential upholstered furniture containing
intentionally-added chemical flame retardants beginning July 1, 2014;

*require manufacturers to certify, beginning December 1, 2016, that
residential upholstered furniture offered for sale in New York meets
the requirements of the "open flame flammability standard;"

*require the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in
consultation with the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, to
develop an open flame flammability standard that prevents flashover
for at least 15 minutes and require such standard to be reviewed for
effectiveness periodically; and,

*permit DEC to authorize an exemption to the prohibition on the use of
chemical flame retardants upon a determination that the proposed
chemical flame retardant does not pose a risk to human health or the
environment. In addition, such chemical would be required to undergo a
comprehensive health impact assessment conducted by the Department of
Health.

JUSTIFICATION:

Recent studies have shown that approximately 94 percent of couches
manufactured after 2005 contain chemical flame retardants - in amounts
capable of being measured in pounds. The flame retardant chemicals
were added in response to a 1975 California flammability standard, TB
117, which was developed in response to concerns about the large
number of cigarette fires. An editorial in Newsday described the
process as follows "So, the (cigarette) industry solution to these
unfortunate deaths was to add flame retardant chemicals to furniture.
The result: a vast increase in sales of flame-retardant chemicals,
even though they're ineffective. The "Chicago Tribune quoted the
author of one study as saying: 'The fire just laughs at it." The
lion's share of furniture sold in the United States meets the
California standard due to California's large market share.

Scientific studies have also demonstrated that meeting the
requirements of TB 117 did not accurately reflect real-world fire
behavior and that the addition of chemical flame retardants offered
very little additional effectiveness. A study conducted by the United
States Department of Commerce, National Bureau of Standards, found
that there were no significant differences in fire resistance between
treated and untreated foams.


The chemical flame retardants migrate out of furniture and into
household dust. Because of their tendency to put items in their mouth,
toddlers typically have three times the level of flame retardants as
their parents. This exposure is on top of what babies are born with.
An article in the Chicago Tribune stated "A typical American baby is
born with the highest recorded concentrations of flame retardants
among infants in the world." Many flame retardants, most notably
halogenated chemical retardants, have been associated with adverse
health impacts. For example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission
identified the flame retardant Tris as a threat to human health, and
California has identified Tris as a suspected human carcinogen. In
addition, when combusted, chemical flame retardants can also form
harmful by-products with the potential to affect the health of
firefighters adversely. A recent study in San Francisco found that
firefighters had two to three times the rate of flame retardants in
their blood stream than average and found that the 110 female
firefighters in the study experienced a risk of breast cancer that was
nearly six times higher than the general population.

In addition, there is precedent for banning dangerous flame
retardants. New York State has previously banned the use of the
brominated flame retardant PentaBDE, and banned the use of Tris (TCEP)
in children's products. This bill, which was developed after Assembly
hearings, would prohibit the use of chemical flame retardants in
residential upholstered furniture in order to decrease adverse health
impacts and to ensure that chemical fire retardant-laden furniture
developed for the prior California standard does not continue to be
sold in New York once California revises their standard. (California
has recently proposed revisions to TB 117 to reflect more accurate
fire conditions and the development of the Fire Safe Cigarette Act,
which has contributed to decreased cigarette-related fires.) In
addition, this bill would also require residential upholstered
furniture manufacturers to comply with an open flame standard
beginning in 2016, reflective of a similar standard for residential
mattresses adopted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Although
the advent of fire safe cigarettes has led to a decrease in fire
deaths, open flame fires continue to remain deadly. Statistics
indicate that approximately 25 percent of fire deaths involve
upholstered furniture, with approximately 50 percent caused by open
flames such as candles and 50 percent from smoldering such as
cigarettes. In order to encourage innovative, chemical-free responses,
the method by which manufacturers could comply with the standard would
not be specified; however, a requirement of providing at least 15
minutes before the furniture reaches ignition temperature and fire
spreads rapidly would be included in order to ensure that people have
sufficient time to escape safely. This timeframe would also provide
additional time for emergency responders to arrive.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

This is new legislation.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:

None to the State.

EFFECTIVE DATE:


This act shall take effect immediately; provided however, that section
37-0905 shall take effect June 1, 2016, and the Department of
Environmental Conservation may adopt regulations necessary to
implement the act prior to the effective date.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  4780

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             April 23, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. GRISANTI, GIPSON, LATIMER, MARTINS, SAMPSON -- read
  twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to  the
  Committee on Environmental Conservation

AN  ACT  to  amend  the  environmental  conservation law, in relation to
  prohibiting the use of chemical flame retardants

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.    Article  37  of  the  environmental conservation law is
amended by adding a new title 9 to read as follows:
                                 TITLE 9
                        CHEMICAL FLAME RETARDANTS
SECTION 37-0901. DEFINITIONS.
        37-0903. PROHIBITION ON THE USE OF CHEMICAL FLAME RETARDANTS.
        37-0905. INCREASED FIRE SAFETY.
S 37-0901. DEFINITIONS. AS USED IN THIS TITLE:
  1. "CHEMICAL FLAME RETARDANTS" SHALL  MEAN  ANY  HALOGENATED  CHEMICAL
FLAME  RETARDANT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO TDCPP TRIS (1, 3 DICHOLO-
RO-2-PROPYL) PHOSPHATE, AND ANY PHOSPHORUS-BROMINE FLAME RETARDANTS.
  2. "RESIDENTIAL UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE" SHALL MEAN  A  SOFA,  LOVESEAT,
CHAIR,  OTTOMAN,  FOOTSTOOL,  OR  OTHER  ITEM OF FURNITURE, INTENDED FOR
INDOOR USE IN A HOME THAT CONSISTS, IN WHOLE OR  IN  PART,  OF  LEATHER,
PLASTIC,  FABRIC  OR OTHER MATERIAL THAT CONTAINS COTTON, WOOL, POLYURE-
THANE OR OTHER NATURAL OR SYNTHETIC MATERIAL THAT IS PLACED IN  CUSHIONS
OR ON THE FRAME OF THE FURNITURE.
S 37-0903. PROHIBITION ON THE USE OF CHEMICAL FLAME RETARDANTS.
  1. BEGINNING JULY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN, NO PERSON, FIRM, PART-
NERSHIP,  ASSOCIATION,  LIMITED  LIABILITY  COMPANY OR CORPORATION SHALL
SELL OR OFFER  FOR  SALE  ANY  RESIDENTIAL  UPHOLSTERED  FURNITURE  THAT
CONTAINS  CHEMICAL  FLAME  RETARDANTS  INTENTIONALLY-ADDED  IN  ORDER TO
PROVIDE A SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTIC, APPEARANCE OR QUALITY, TO  PERFORM  A
SPECIFIC FUNCTION, OR FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD10248-01-3

S. 4780                             2

  2.  THE  PROVISIONS  OF  THIS  SECTION  SHALL NOT APPLY TO THE SALE OR
DISTRIBUTION OF RESIDENTIAL UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE RESOLD OR OFFERED  FOR
RESALE, OR DISTRIBUTED BY CONSUMERS FOR CONSUMER USE.
S 37-0905. INCREASED FIRE SAFETY.
  1.  BEGINNING  DECEMBER FIRST, TWO THOUSAND SIXTEEN, EACH MANUFACTURER
OF RESIDENTIAL UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE THAT IS SOLD OR OFFERED FOR SALE IN
THE STATE SHALL CERTIFY TO THE DEPARTMENT THAT  ANY  RESIDENTIAL  UPHOL-
STERED  FURNITURE  SOLD  OR  OFFERED  FOR  SALE  IN  THE STATE MEETS THE
REQUIREMENTS OF THE OPEN FLAME FLAMMABILITY STANDARD.
  2. A. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "OPEN FLAME FLAMMABILITY STANDARD"
SHALL MEAN A STANDARD, DEVELOPED PURSUANT TO RULES  AND  REGULATIONS  OF
THE  DEPARTMENT,  IN CONSULTATION WITH THE OFFICE OF FIRE PREVENTION AND
CONTROL, REQUIRING RESIDENTIAL UPHOLSTERED  FURNITURE  TO  NOT  LEAD  TO
FLASHOVER  FOR  AT LEAST FIFTEEN MINUTES OF TIME. SUCH STANDARD SHALL BE
REVIEWED FOR EFFECTIVENESS NO LESS  THAN  EVERY  TWO  YEARS,  WITH  SUCH
REVIEW  INCLUDING,  AT  A  MINIMUM, EXAMINATION OF THE STANDARDS USED IN
OTHER STATES.
  B. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION "FLASHOVER" SHALL MEAN  THE  POINT
AT  WHICH  ALL EXPOSED SURFACES OF THE RESIDENTIAL UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE
REACH IGNITION TEMPERATURES AND FIRE SPREADS RAPIDLY.
  C. FOR THE PURPOSES  OF  THIS  SECTION  "MANUFACTURER"  SHALL  MEAN  A
PERSON,  FIRM,  PARTNERSHIP,  ASSOCIATION,  LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY OR
CORPORATION THAT ASSEMBLES OR SUBSTANTIALLY ASSEMBLES RESIDENTIAL UPHOL-
STERED FURNITURE FOR SALE IN THE STATE  OR  IMPORTS  RESIDENTIAL  UPHOL-
STERED FURNITURE FOR SALE IN THE STATE.
  3.  THE  DEPARTMENT  MAY,  FOLLOWING  PUBLIC HEARINGS, ADOPT RULES AND
REGULATIONS AUTHORIZING AN  EXEMPTION  TO  SUBDIVISION  ONE  OF  SECTION
37-0903  OF THIS TITLE UPON A DETERMINATION BY THE COMMISSIONER THAT THE
PROPOSED CHEMICAL FLAME  RETARDANT  WILL  NOT  NEGATIVELY  AFFECT  HUMAN
HEALTH OR THE ENVIRONMENT. SUCH DETERMINATION MAY ONLY BE MADE AFTER THE
COMPLETION  OF A COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH IMPACT ASSESSMENT CONDUCTED BY THE
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, FOLLOWING A MODEL RECOMMENDED BY THE  CENTERS  FOR
DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION.
  S  2.  This  act shall take effect immediately; provided however, that
section 37-0905 of  the  environmental  conservation  law  as  added  by
section one of this act shall take effect June 1, 2016; provided, howev-
er,  that  the  commissioner of environmental conservation is authorized
and directed to promulgate any rules and regulations necessary to imple-
ment the provisions of this act on or before such effective date.

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