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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.

3485 Orange Grove Ave., North Highlands, CA 95660, (916) 574-2041, Licensing: (916) 574-0280, fax: (916) 574-2043, email: Website:  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 items)

Here are quotes from:

[Federal Register: January 13, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 9)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 2514-2517]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



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, 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 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.


A. Background

    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

[[Page 2515]]

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

[[Page 2516]]

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. 
Id. 1193(d).

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, 
improved designs.
    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

[[Page 2517]]

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.
Todd Stevenson,
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]