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Changes to FR regulations

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Although flame retardant regulations vary from one geographic location to another, several standards exist to help fabric suppliers and EPMs understand some overall guidelines. One common standard is NFPA 701, which addresses flame propagation of textiles and films. Another is ASTM E84, related to surface burning characteristics of building materials. (The organization recently released the book ASTM Fire Standards for Upholstered Furniture, Mattresses and Bedding, which includes 20 key ASTM International fire testing standards, two federal regulations and eight California Technical Bulletins.)

A third one that is frequently cited is the California State Fire Marshal (CSFM) code. “California is the leader in flammability issues,” explains Juli Case, IFAI’s information and technology manager. “What happens there is important to everyone because the rest of the country tends to look to what California is doing with regards to flammability.”

Case says that Title 19, which is the CSFM flammability requirement for textiles, is going to change in the coming months. Once the committee finishes its work on revisions to the specification, it will be open for public comment.

Additionally, there has been a shift toward less toxic and more environmentally friendly FR components, says Stephen Bodnar, director of marketing at Duro Textiles LLC. “Both global and state regulators have embarked on a mission to minimize or eliminate the use of certain halogen and metallic compounds,” he says.

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