senate Bill S4780A

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

Versions:
S4780
S4780A
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Finance
Law Section:
Environmental Conservation Law
Laws Affected:
Add Art 37 Title 9 §§37-0901 - 37-0903, En Con L

Votes

10
0
10
Aye
0
Nay
3
aye with reservations
0
absent
0
excused
0
abstained
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Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4780A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in
relation to the upholstered furniture safety act

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 require upholstered furniture for sale in the state of
New York to meet the most recently adopted smolder standard
established by the California department of consumer affairs, bureau
of electronic and appliance repair, home furnishings and thermal
insulation. This bill further directs the New York state division of
homeland security and emergency services to prepare a report assessing
emerging fire barrier materials and other relevant technologies.

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.

California has recently adopted revisions to TB 117, setting forth a
new smolder standard that will allow manufactures to make upholstered
furniture without the use of chemical flame retardants. This bill will
require upholstered furniture for sale in New York to meet the
recently adopted California standard. Removing toxic chemicals from
upholstered furniture will protect public health and make it safer for
emergency responders to fight fires.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

This is new legislation.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None to the State.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately.

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

                                 4780--A

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             April 23, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced by Sens. GRISANTI, AVELLA, CARLUCCI, ESPAILLAT, GIPSON, HOYL-
  MAN,  LATIMER,  MARTINS,  O'BRIEN,  SAMPSON, VALESKY -- read twice and
  ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee  on
  Environmental Conservation -- recommitted to the Committee on Environ-
  mental  Conservation  in  accordance  with  Senate  Rule  6, sec. 8 --
  committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as  amended  and
  recommitted to said committee

AN  ACT  to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to the
  upholstered furniture safety act

  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
                    UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE SAFETY ACT
SECTION 37-0901. DEFINITIONS.
        37-0903. SMOLDER RESISTANCE STANDARDS.
S 37-0901. DEFINITIONS.
  AS USED IN THIS TITLE:
  1. "UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE" MEANS ANY FURNITURE,  INCLUDING  CHILDREN'S
FURNITURE, MOVABLE OR STATIONARY, WHICH IS MADE OR SOLD WITH CUSHIONS OR
PILLOWS,  LOOSE  OR ATTACHED, OR IS ITSELF STUFFED OR FILLED IN WHOLE OR
IN PART WITH ANY MATERIAL, IS OR CAN BE STUFFED OR FILLED IN WHOLE OR IN
PART WITH ANY SUBSTANCE OR MATERIAL, HIDDEN OR CONCEALED  BY  FABRIC  OR
ANY  OTHER COVERING, INCLUDING CUSHIONS OR PILLOWS BELONGING TO OR FORM-
ING A PART THEREOF, TOGETHER WITH  THE  STRUCTURAL  UNITS,  THE  FILLING
MATERIAL  AND  ITS  CONTAINER  AND  ITS  COVERING WHICH CAN BE USED AS A
SUPPORT FOR THE BODY OF A HUMAN BEING, OR HIS OR HER LIMBS AND FEET WHEN
SITTING OR RESTING IN AN UPRIGHT OR RECLINING POSITION.  FOR PURPOSES OF
THIS SECTION, UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE SHALL NOT INCLUDE:

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD10248-11-4

S. 4780--A                          2

  (A) FURNITURE USED EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF PHYSICAL FITNESS AND
EXERCISE;
  (B) CUSHIONS AND PADS INTENDED SOLELY FOR OUTDOOR USE;
  (C)  ANY  ARTICLE  WHICH  IS SMOOTH SURFACED AND CONTAINS NO MORE THAN
ONE-HALF INCH OF FILLING MATERIAL, PROVIDED THAT SUCH ARTICLE  DOES  NOT
HAVE A HORIZONTAL SURFACE MEETING A VERTICAL SURFACE;
  (D)  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; AND
  (E) ANY ARTICLE MANUFACTURED IN ACCORDANCE WITH A WRITTEN PRESCRIPTION
FROM ANY ONE OF THE HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS SET FORTH IN THIS SUBDIVI-
SION,  OR  MANUFACTURED  IN  ACCORDANCE  WITH  OTHER  COMPARABLE WRITTEN
MEDICAL THERAPEUTIC SPECIFICATION, TO BE USED  IN  CONNECTION  WITH  THE
TREATMENT  OR  MANAGEMENT  OF  A  NAMED INDIVIDUAL'S PHYSICAL ILLNESS OR
INJURY. ANY ONE OF THE FOLLOWING HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS  MAY  PROVIDE
THE  WRITTEN PRESCRIPTION REQUIRED BY THIS SUBDIVISION PROVIDED THAT THE
HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL HAS A CURRENT AND VALID LICENSE TO PRACTICE  IN
NEW  YORK  OR  ANY  OTHER  STATE  OF  THE  UNITED  STATES  IN  WHICH THE
PRESCRIPTION WAS WRITTEN: PHYSICIANS, CHIROPRACTORS OR OSTEOPATHS.
  2. "RETAILER" MEANS A PERSON WHO  SELLS  ANY  ARTICLE  OF  UPHOLSTERED
FURNITURE TO A CONSUMER OR USER OF THE ARTICLE AS PURCHASED.
S 37-0903. SMOLDER RESISTANCE STANDARDS.
  1.  BEGINNING  JANUARY  FIRST,  TWO  THOUSAND FIFTEEN, ANY UPHOLSTERED
FURNITURE MANUFACTURED FOR SALE IN THE STATE AND  SOLD  OR  OFFERED  FOR
SALE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC AT RETAIL OUTLETS IN THE STATE SHALL MEET THE
MOST  RECENTLY ADOPTED STANDARDS FOR THE SMOLDER RESISTANCE OF MATERIALS
USED IN UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE ESTABLISHED BY THE  CALIFORNIA  DEPARTMENT
OF  CONSUMER  AFFAIRS,  BUREAU  OF ELECTRONIC AND APPLIANCE REPAIR, HOME
FURNISHINGS AND THERMAL INSULATION, AND SHALL INCLUDE AN  AFFIXED  LABEL
DEMONSTRATING COMPLIANCE WITH SUCH STANDARD.
  2. THE REQUIREMENTS OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY
TO:
  (A) ANY UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE IN A RETAILER'S INVENTORY PRIOR TO JANU-
ARY  FIRST, TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN AND SOLD OR OFFERED FOR SALE AFTER SUCH
DATE; OR (B) ANY UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE THAT IS REPAIRED,  REUPHOLSTERED,
RE-COVERED,  RESTORED, RENEWED OR MADE TO ORDER AND SPECIFICATION OF THE
USER USING EITHER NEW MATERIALS OR THE OWNER'S MATERIALS.
  S 2.  The commissioner of the New  York  state  division  of  homeland
security and emergency services, in consultation with the New York state
office  of  fire  prevention and control, shall on or before February 1,
2016, prepare a report to be delivered to the governor  and  legislature
assessing  emerging  fire barrier materials and other relevant technolo-
gies to examine their open flame resistant  properties,  evaluate  their
cost effectiveness and determine their applicability in open flame test-
ing  of upholstered furniture as defined in section 37-0901 of the envi-
ronmental conservation law, as added by section one  of  this  act.  The
commissioner may consult with interested stakeholders.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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