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Defining the pass/fail for Title 19 afterflame requirement

Resources | January 1, 2010 | By:

What is the pass/fail for Title 19’s afterflame requirement? One supplier told me two seconds and another said four seconds. Which one is right?

Actually, they’re both right; it’s complicated.

In California, Title 19 is the regulation that affects textile products. Since California is a leader in the U.S. for flammability issues, what happens with Title 19 has a wide impact, and not just on what happens in California. Within Title 19, there is a small scale test method (1237) for textiles, and that’s what your question refers to.

In the official version of Title 19, the one found in state of California documentation, a fabric fails if the afterflame of single sample exceeds two seconds. This is a particularly stringent requirement. An adjustment to Title 19 was made in 1993, making that failure point an average of four seconds, from several fabric samples. This in effect made Title 19, small scale test 1237, less stringent. Unfortunately, this revision was never put through the official California State Fire Marshal procedure; and so, while it has been widely used ever since, it’s not technically official.

Confused? The good news is that the California State Fire Marshal’s office recognizes the discrepancy and is in the process of revising Title 19 through their official revision system. When the draft is complete, the public will have an opportunity to comment before it is finalized. Watch IFAI publications and media about upcoming comment opportunities.

SOURCE California State Fire Marshal Fire Engineering Division, +1 916 445 8200

Juli Case is IFAI’s information and technical services manager.

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