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CPSC Denies Petition to Amend Flammability Test Procedures for Clothing

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has denied a petition submitted on 4 February 2015 by the International Association of Users of Artificial and Synthetic Filament Yarns and of Natural Silk (U.N.I.T.E.X.) to amend the Standard for the Flammability of Clothing Textiles in 16 CFR 1610 by (i) modifying the conditioning requirements to decrease the temperature and increase humidity and (ii) increasing the time permitted before beginning testing.

The Standard for the Flammability of Clothing Textiles provides test methods and procedures for assessing the flammability of clothing textiles, as well as criteria for classifying clothing textiles into three flammability classes based on test results. The flammability classification of a fabric determines whether the fabric may be sold in the U.S. market. The petition addressed two specific provisions of this standard regarding conditioning of test specimens and timing of testing. Specifically, testers are required to dry specimens in an oven for 30 ± 2 minutes at 105 ± 3°C (221 ± 5°F) and then place the specimens in a desiccator for at least 15 minutes until cool. In addition, testers must begin testing a specimen within 45 seconds of removing the specimen from the desiccator.

The petition requested that the CPSC modify both of these requirements by allowing testers to (i) condition samples at a lower temperature and higher humidity level of 21 ± l°C (70 ± 2°F) and 65 ± 2% relative humidity, and (ii) begin the testing within four minutes of removing the specimen, rather than within 45 seconds. However, the CPSC concluded that the requested changes are not necessary to and do not further the goal of protecting the public from “unreasonable risk of the occurrence of fire leading to death or personal injury, or significant property damage,” as called for under the Flammable Fabrics Act and 16 CFR 1051.9.

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