U.S. CPSC and California will soon
require bedclothes not ignite from open flames. This will
require chemicals in our mattress pads, sheets, blankets,
comforters, and pillows.
CALIFORNIA BUREAU OF HOME
FURNISHINGS AND THERMAL INSULATION
3485 Orange Grove Ave., North Highlands, CA 95660, (916)
574-2041, Licensing: (916) 574-0280, fax: (916) 574-2043, email:
http://www.bhfti.ca.gov/ TB603 is
mattress open flame law,
TB604 is bedclothes open flame law.
These items include comforters, quilted duvet covers, quilted
bed pads, bedspreads, bed pillows and bed-rest cushions,
mattress pads, quilted bed shams, quilted pillowcases, padded
headboards, foam topper pads (covered and bare), etc. The tests
do not apply to non-filled bedding items such as blankets,
sheets and pillowcases. (The federal law will apply to these
Here are quotes from:
[Federal Register: January 13, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 9)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION
16 CFR Part 1634
Standard To Address Open Flame Ignition of Bedclothes; Advance
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
AGENCY: Consumer Product Safety Commission.
ACTION: Advance Notice of proposed rulemaking.
SUMMARY: The Commission is considering issuing a flammability standard
that would address open flame ignition of bedclothes. (Commissioner
Thomas H. Moore issued a statement, a copy of which is available from
the Commission's Office of the Secretary or from the Commission's Web
site, www.cpsc.gov.) Elsewhere in today's Federal Register, the
Commission is proposing a flammability standard that addresses open
flame ignition of mattresses/foundations. Research indicates that in
mattress fires the mattress and bedclothes operate together as a
system. Thus, the Commission believes that a flammability standard for
bedclothes in addition to one for mattresses may be appropriate. The
Commission invites comments concerning the risk of injury identified in
this notice, the regulatory alternatives being considered, and other
possible alternatives. The Commission also invites submission of any
existing standard or statement of intention to modify or develop a
voluntary standard to address small open flame ignition of bedclothes.
DATES: Comments and submissions must be received by March 14, 2005.
ADDRESSES: Comments should be mailed, preferably in five copies, to the
Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission,
Washington, DC 20207-0001, or delivered to the Office of the Secretary,
Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 502, 4330 East-West Highway,
Bethesda, Maryland; telephone (301) 504-0800. Comments also may be
filed by telefacsimile to (301) 504-0127 or by email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments should be captioned ``Bedclothes ANPR.''
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Margaret Neily, Directorate for
Engineering Sciences, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington,
DC 20207; telephone (301) 504-0508, extension 1293.
An existing flammability standard for mattresses addresses ignition
of mattresses and mattress pads by cigarettes. 16 CFR Part 1632. On
October 11, 2001, the Commission published an advance notice of
proposed rulemaking (``ANPR'') addressing open flame ignition of
mattresses. 66 FR 51886. That ANPR was the result of several years of
evaluation by Commission staff and petitions on mattress flammability
submitted by Whitney Davis, Director of the Children's Coalition for
Fire-safe Mattresses. As explained in the ANPR, the Sleep Products
Safety Council (``SPSC''), an affiliate of the International Sleep
Products Association (``ISPA''), sponsored a research program at the
National Institute of Standards and Technology (``NIST''). The NIST
research program has provided a great deal of technical information
about mattress fires, including the role of bedclothes in such fires.
As noted in the mattress ANPR, mattresses generally are not used
alone, but are covered by bedding or bedclothes, whose presence
significantly affects the character of the fire. In most incidents a
small open flame initially ignites the bedding, and these materials
serve as a larger ignition source for the mattress. Because few
materials can resist such a large ignition source, the typical approach
of preventing ignition of a mattress through a product performance
standard may not be fully adequate for an open flame mattress standard.
Therefore, the Commission has taken the approach in
its proposed mattress standard of limiting the fire intensity in order
to minimize the possibility of or delay flashover for a period of time
in mattress/bedding fires. Flashover occurs when a fire becomes so
intense that all exposed surfaces ignite nearly simultaneously, and the
fire quickly spreads through the structure.
In response to the mattress ANPR, the Commission received comments
both in favor of the Commission regulating bedclothes and against such
regulation. Those opposed to regulating bedclothes argued that
bedclothes are an uncontrolled variable and there is no way to predict
the type of bedclothes that may become involved in a fire incident.
They also stated that there would be no objective method to determine
if consumers were using regulated bedclothes, there is little data
indicating that regulating some bedding items would have an impact on
the hazard, and flammability performance should not be based on what
consumers may (or may not) use as bedclothes. Those in favor of
regulating bedclothes argued that bedclothes are a significant ignition
source for mattress fires and significantly affect the burning
characteristics of the mattress and foundation. They also asserted that
bedclothes can generate a fire large enough to pose a hazard on their
own, and that improving the flammability of certain bedclothes, such as
filled items, is economically feasible.
As discussed below, the Commission believes that regulating
bedclothes may be appropriate. Bedclothes contribute substantially to
the complexity and magnitude of the mattress fire hazard. The NIST
research has shown that, even with mattresses that would meet the
Commission's proposed open flame mattress standard, certain bedclothes
have produced near flashover conditions in laboratory tests.
B. The Products
The term ``bedclothes'' can include a variety of products, such as
sheets, blankets, mattress pads, pillows, comforters, and similar
products that are used as covering on a bed. Products that contain
fibrous or other materials are called ``filled'' bedding. Because of
their greater mass or fuel load, filled products are likely to
contribute more significantly to a mattress fire than unfilled
products, such as sheets and blankets. California's Bureau of Home
Furnishings and Thermal Insulation (``CBHF'') has issued a draft
Technical Bulletin 604 that specifies an open flame standard for filled
bedding products. The draft TB 604 does not cover textiles, such as
sheets, pillowcases and blankets. CBHF only regulates filled
At the present time, the Commission is not limiting this rulemaking
to any particular bedclothes. The Commission intends that during the
course of rulemaking it will evaluate continuing research to determine
which bedclothes have the greatest impact on mattress fires. The
Commission requests comments on particular bedclothes that should be
included in or excluded from a proposed bedclothes standard.
At the request of CBHF, the American Textiles Manufacturers
Institute (``ATMI'') conducted a survey in 2003 of its members about
the U.S. market for filled bedding products. The 12 firms surveyed
reportedly account for 80% of the U.S. market for these products.
Although these firms are located in the U.S., many of their products
are manufactured outside the U.S. According to U.S. Department of
Commerce 2002 import statistics, perhaps 90% of all quilts and
comforters, and perhaps 20% of all bed pillows are imported. According
to the ATMI survey, the most common fill material for bedclothes is
polyester (not flame-resistant). Some of the improved fill materials
being developed for mattresses could also be used for bedclothes. Use
of barrier fabrics or flame resistant outer fabrics are other
approaches that could be used to improve fire performance of
A trade publication, ``Home Textiles Today,'' reported in its 2003
annual business issue that the top five firms marketing comforters and
bedspreads sold about $1.1 billion in the U.S. in 2002, essentially
unchanged from 2001. The top five makers of down comforters reported
sales of about $303 million in 2002.
Mattress pads are constructed of the same types of foam used in
mattresses and filled bedding products. They can also contribute
significantly to mattress/bedding fires. Foam mattress pads may be made
with a flat surface, an ``egg crate'' design, or with ``memory foam''
that contours to the body. Egg crate pads retail for $10 to $50 each.
Industry sources estimate that perhaps 4 to 5 million egg crate pads
are sold annually. Memory pads, which retail for $100 or more, sell
about 3 million units annually.
C. Risk of Injury
The most recent national fire loss estimates indicated that
mattresses and bedding were the first items to ignite in 19,400
residential fires attended by the fire service annually during 1995-
1999 (based on data from the U.S. Fire Administration's National Fire
Incident Reporting System data and the National Fire Protection
Association's annual survey). These fires resulted in 440 deaths, 2,230
injuries and $273.9 million in property loss each year. Open flame
ignition sources accounted for 35 percent of these fires and smoking
material sources accounted for 30 percent of the fires. The remaining
fires included a variety of ignition sources including heat sources too
close to the bed. Based on these data alone, it is very difficult to
determine whether the first item ignited was a mattress or an item of
The primary source for information on the involvement of various
bedclothes items in mattress fires is CPSC's in-depth investigations.
Staff analyzed 241 investigated fire incidents that occurred between
January 2000 and June 2003. These investigations were based on a
variety of initial sources, NEISS hospital emergency room reports,
newspaper clippings, and fire department reports.
Unless someone witnessed the fire ignition, it was often difficult
to determine whether the mattress or a bedclothes item, such as a
pillow or blanket, ignited first. When the initial ignition was not
observed and reported, staff determined what ignited first based on the
reported scenario. For example, if a lamp fell on a blanket on the top
surface of the bed, the incident was classified as igniting the blanket
first. Based on this evaluation, it was determined that a non-electric
bedclothes item ignited first in 190 of 235 fires (81 percent).
However, in 75 percent of those bedclothes' ignitions it was not
possible to determine the type of bedclothes involved. Among incidents
for which a specific item was reported, sheets, blankets, and
comforters/quilts were the items cited most frequently. Ignition
sources included cigarette lighters (primarily children playing),
candles, smoking materials, and other nearby heat sources. Although the
investigations could not provide information on which types of
bedclothes were more likely to ignite, they did show that most
bedclothes items that were present did ignite at some point during the
D. Statutory Provisions
Section 4 of the Flammable Fabrics Act (``FFA'') authorizes the
Commission to initiate proceedings for a flammability standard when it
finds that such a standard is ``needed to protect the public against
unreasonable risk of the occurrence of fire leading to death or
personal injury, or significant property damage.'' 15 U.S.C. 1193(a).
That section also sets forth the process
by which the Commission can issue a flammability standard. The
Commission first must issue an advance notice of proposed rulemaking
(``ANPR'') which: (1) Identifies the fabric or product and the nature
of the risk associated with the fabric or product; (2) summarizes the
regulatory alternatives under consideration; (3) provides information
about existing relevant standards and reasons why the Commission does
not preliminarily believe that these standards are adequate; (4)
invites interested persons to submit comments concerning the identified
risk of injury, regulatory alternatives being considered, and other
possible alternatives; (5) invites submission of an existing standard
or portion of a standard as a proposed regulation; and (6) invites
submission of a statement of intention to modify or develop a voluntary
standard to address the risk of injury. 15 U.S.C. 1193(g).
If, after reviewing comments and submissions responding to the
ANPR, the Commission determines to continue the rulemaking proceeding,
it will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking. This notice must contain
the text of the proposed rule along with alternatives the Commission
has considered and a preliminary regulatory analysis. 15 U.S.C.
1193(i). Before issuing a final rule, the Commission must prepare a
final regulatory analysis, and it must make certain findings concerning
any relevant voluntary standard, the relationship of costs and benefits
of the rule, and the burden imposed by the regulation. Id. 1193(j). The
Commission also must provide an opportunity for interested persons to
make an oral presentation before the Commission issues a final rule.
E. Existing Open Flame Standards
Currently, there are no mandatory flammability requirements for
residential bedclothes in the United States. A few voluntary standards
apply to bedding items. ASTM D4151-92 (2001) measures ease of ignition
and surface flame spread of blankets. Underwriters Laboratories
(``UL'') has a standard for electric blankets. A European standard, ISO
12952--Textiles--Burning behaviour of bedding items, Parts 1-4,
specifies a general test method for assessing the ignitability of
bedding items. The test method calls for observation of progressive
smoldering and/or flaming when a bedding specimen is exposed to a small
propane burner. The test relates only to ignitability of the bedding
material under the specific conditions of the test. None of these tests
appears adequate to measure or address the specific hazard posed by a
bedclothes item or its contribution to a residential mattress/bedding
F. California's Rulemaking
In 2001, the California legislature passed Assembly Bill 603 (``AB
603''), which mandated that CBHF issue regulations by January 2004 that
would require that mattresses and box springs meet a test for open-
flame resistance. AB 603 also stated: ``If the bureau [CBHF] concludes
that other bedding contributes to mattress fires, the regulations shall
require the other bedding to be flame retardant under the resistance to
open-flame test.'' Based on their own research and that conducted by
NIST, CBHF determined that regulation of filled bedding products--such
as comforters, pillows, and mattress pads--is necessary. CBHF has been
working with a multi-disciplinary task force to develop a proposed
standard for these bedding items. CBHF prepared a draft standard (TB
604) that was discussed in the Task Force in 2003. However, it was
withdrawn because of technical problems with the test method. CBHF
issued a new draft of the TB 604 standard on October 1, 2004, and
scheduled a Task Force meeting for November 18, 2004, to discuss it.
CBHF has stated that it expects to open formal rulemaking at the end of
the year and hold hearings on the proposal in January or February 2005.
G. Technical Research on Bedclothes
As discussed in the mattress ANPR, several research projects have
examined open-flame ignited mattress and bedding fires. Some of this
research provides a better understanding of the contribution of
bedclothes to these fires.
The Sleep Product Safety Council (``SPSC'') sponsored several
phases of research at NIST. One of the focuses during Phase 1 was to
evaluate the fire behavior of various combinations of bedclothes.
Twelve different combinations of bedclothes sets ranging from very
light (two sheets and a pillow) to heavy (two sheets, a pillow, a
mattress pad, one blanket, and one heavy weight filled comforter) were
burned on an inert, twin-size mattress made of fiberglass. The peak
heat release rates varied from 50kW to 200kW. Combinations without a
comforter were typically under 100kW. Peak heat release rate is
basically a measure of the intensity of the fire produced by these
items. Further tests were conducted on a range of combinations of
Part of Phase 2 of the NIST work included a limited assessment of
bedclothes and their contribution to mattress fire hazards. The same
set of bedclothes was used on mattresses of varying heat release rate
performance. The bedclothes were tested with a king sized mattress that
had contributed very little heat release rate in prior testing without
bedclothes. The result was a peak heat release rate of 400kW, primarily
from the bedclothes. While this scenario would not readily cause
flashover, it is important to note that this result assumes little
involvement from the mattress.
SPSC expanded its research at NIST to examine filled bedclothes
(such as comforters, pillows, and mattress pads). This research tested
bedclothes constructed of a variety of filling and cover materials to
assess the effect of material changes on the flammability behavior. The
study evaluated two design changes: One involved replacing polyester
fiberfill with a modified, lower heat release fiber of a comparable
loft; the other involved using a barrier-type cover to protect the
polyester fiberfill. These design changes were examined using three
different mattress and foundation designs: One representing current
mattress/foundation construction and the other two using experimental,
The report on this bedclothes study was published in February 2003,
NIST Technical Note 1449. According to the NIST report, for a mattress
standard to be most effective, the performance of the entire bedding
system (that is, the mattress/foundation and the bedclothes) must be
taken into consideration. The study showed that the bedclothes and the
mattress/foundation function as a system and that the improved mattress
pads, pillows and comforters resulted in major improvements in the
performance of the system. This was indicated by a lower peak heat
release rate or a longer time to peak.
A related research project conducted for CPSC by NIST reinforced
one of the conclusions of the bedclothes study discussed above. A
portion of the tests using conventional bedclothes showed that, as
mattress designs improve, two separate peak heat release rates occur.
The first observed peak appears to be dominated by the bedclothes,
while the second is dominated by the mattress/foundation. Good mattress
designs tended to have a peak heat release rate appreciably later in
the test and comparable to or less than the peak dominated by the
A more recent study conducted for CPSC by NIST included a series of
tests using the same bedclothes combination on twin, queen, and king
size mattresses. The tests were conducted in
a room environment to evaluate any resulting room effects, which
generally begin to occur at heat release rates of about 300 to 400kW.
The early heat release rate peaks, driven primarily by burning
bedclothes, tripled from twin size to king size. Larger size bedclothes
combinations on good performing mattress designs (those with peak heat
release rates less than 50kW when tested with burners and no
bedclothes) showed heat release rate peaks up to 800 kW, occurring 7 to
8 minutes after ignition. This is much higher than rates allowed for
mattresses/foundations under CPSC's proposed mattress standard. On
mattress designs that yielded a moderate heat release rate peak with
burners, the bedclothes resulted in more serious fires. This study
shows that a combination of some bedclothes with even a well performing
mattress/foundation (that would meet CPSC's proposed mattress standard)
could still cause flashover in a room.
H. Invitation To Comment
In accordance with section 4(g) of the FFA, the Commission invites
comments on this notice. Specifically, the Commission invites the
following types of comments.
1. Comments concerning the risk of injury identified in this
notice, the regulatory alternatives discussed above, and other
alternatives to address the risk of injury;
2. The submission of an existing standard or portion of a standard
as a proposed rule;
3. The submission of a statement of intention to modify or develop
a voluntary standard to address the risk of injury identified in the
notice along with a description of a plan to modify or develop the
In addition, the Commission is interested in obtaining further
information about the following issues that may influence the
flammability of bedclothes.
1. Cleaning and laundering methods of bedclothes;
2. Frequency of cleaning or laundering of various bedclothes items
over their useful lives.
Dated: December 22, 2004.
Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission.
List of Relevant Documents
1. Briefing memorandum from Margaret Neily, Project Manager,
Directorate for Engineering Sciences, to the Commission, ``Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking for Mattress Flammability (Open Flame) and
Options for Addressing Bedclothes Involvement in Mattress/Bedding
Fires,'' November 1, 2004.
2. Memorandum from Linda Smith, EPHA, to Margaret Neily,
Engineering Sciences, ``Involvement of Bedclothes in Residential
Fires Mattress Fires,'' May 2004.
3. Memorandum from Terrance R. Karels, EC, to Margaret L. Neily,
ES, ``Bedding Market Information,'' October 5, 2004.
4. Memorandum from Allyson Tenney, ES, to Margaret Neily,
Project Manager, ``Bedclothes Flammability,'' October 29, 2004.
[FR Doc. 05-415 Filed 1-12-05; 8:45 am]
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