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Legislative Memo

Darren Suarez
Director of Government Affairs
T 518.465.7511
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.4780 (Grisanti) / A.6557 (Sweeney)

Support

SUBJECT:

Prohibiting the Use of Some Chemical Flame Retardants

 

DATE:

May 28, 2013

 

The Business Council of New York State opposes this legislation, because the legislation is unwarranted, potentially costly, and will adversely affect New York State manufactures. The proposed legislation contains two requirements 1) by July 1, 2014 banning any residential upholstered furniture containing chemical flame retardants 2) by December 1, 2016; each manufacturer of residential upholstered furniture shall certify that such product meets an “open flame” flammability standard. Each of the individual requirements is problematic.

The requirement that by December 1, 2016 residential upholstered furniture meets an “open flame” standard if enacted will prove to be very costly to the State and a barrier for New York manufactures. Currently, manufactures of residential upholstered furniture have been fabricated in a manner to ensure compliance with California's “open flame” standard. The California standard is the “de facto” national standard, as there is no Federal requirement and no other State standard. When the California standard is amended, manufactures of residential furniture will discontinue their use of chemical flame retardants.

California is planning to move away from an “open flame” standard and instead adopt a “smolder ignition” standard. If New York were to adopt a different standard than California it will prove costly for the state to implement, will be a barrier to consumer choice, and will adversely impact New York State's manufactures of residential upholstered furniture. New York should not adopt a different standard than one established by California Technical Bulletin 117 (TB 117).

The Business Council strongly confident that State should not be establishing state specific prohibition on flame retardants. This legislation would ban all flame retardants including Brominated, Phosphorus, Nitrogen, Chlorinated and Inorganic, without a specific rationalization. Flame retardants are subject to review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and national regulators around the globe. The Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) and more than a dozen other federal laws and regulations, including consumer product safety laws, and product liability laws provide further oversight of chemicals in commerce to assure that they are safe for their intended uses.

For these reasons, the Business Council opposes this legislation.