Russ Heimerich with the California Department of Consumer Affairs says prior flammability tests focused on the insides of furniture, while the new tests focus on areas where smoldering cigarettes and other heat sources would pose the greatest risk.
“They can either prove to us that their covering fabric meets the smolder test, or if it doesn’t, that they have a barrier underneath that covering fabric that does meet a smolder test,” says Heimerich.
He says when the old standards were set in the 1970s, smoke detectors were relatively rare.
Last year, Governor Brown directed state agencies to draw up new flammability standards for upholstered furniture that would be more in line with current manufacturing methods.
Furniture makers can start manufacturing to the new guidelines on January 1 next year. They must be in full compliance a year later.