Reps. Matsui & Griffith Introduce Legislation to Eliminate the Need for Dangerous Flame Retardant Chemicals in Home Products

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Washington, D.C., May 10, 2019 | comments

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA) introduced the Safer Occupancy Furniture Flammability Act (SOFFA) to set a national furniture flammability standard that will reduce the need for harmful flame retardants in furniture.

Specifically, the legislation would make California’s Technical Bulletin 117-2013 a national standard, replacing an open flame test with a smolder test for furniture flammability testing. California adopted this standard in 2013 and has demonstrated that while the new standard poses no new fire safety risks, it does reduce the presence of flame retardants in home products and furniture, thereby protecting consumers across the state from harmful health impacts.

Flame retardant chemicals such as organohalogen and organophosphorus have been associated with issues such as endocrine disruption, immunotoxicity reproductive toxicity, cancer, and adverse effects on fetal and child development. They can also create toxic, carcinogenic byproducts if burned, which has been associated with higher rates of cancer in firefighters.

“For years, the state of California has demonstrated that the old standards for furniture flammability do not offer any additional protection while introducing the additional risk of hazardous flame retardants in Americans’ homes,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “Our bill will eliminate the need for dangerous chemicals like organohalogen and organophosphorus flame retardants, which we know have adverse health and environmental effects. I look forward to working with my congressional colleagues and the Energy & Commerce Committee to move this important legislation as expeditiously as possible so that we can reduce the risk that ordinary home products pose to American families.”

“Our legislation would create a clear federal standard on furniture flammability,” said Congressman Griffith. “It would result in safer products for our homes and allow furniture manufacturers to make their products without worrying about a tangle of varying state regulations. I am pleased to join in this bipartisan effort.”

Companion legislation has been introduced by Senators Wicker and Blumenthal.


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