Committee Members Urge Consumer Product Safety Commission to Issue Compliance Guidelines to Combat Furniture Flammability

March 5, 2021

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, along with Reps. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., Morgan Griffith, R-Va., Bobby Rush, D-Ill., and Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., who are members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today sent a letter to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Acting Chairman Robert Adler regarding the development and implementation of regulatory guidelines related to furniture flammability consistent with S. 1341, the Safer Occupancy Furniture Flammability Act (SOFFA).

Excerpt from the letter to Acting Chairman Adler:

As you know, SOFFA was enacted into law late last year as the COVID-19 Regulatory Relief and Work From Home Safety Act, Title XXI of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. SOFFA establishes that the standard set forth by the Department of Consumer Affairs of the State of California entitled “Requirements, Test Procedure and Apparatus for Testing the Smolder Resistance of Materials Used in Upholstered Furniture,” shall be the national standard for furniture flammability beginning 180 days after the enactment of the Act. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with enforcing this new nationwide standard.

The flammability of upholstered furniture presents a serious risk to consumers. Because the materials that commonly fill upholstered furniture can burn rapidly, flammable upholstered furniture can lead to a faster spread of fires in homes.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, upholstered furniture has been at least a contributing factor in nearly 20 percent of all fire deaths in recent years. The prompt enforcement of the new federal safety standard will be a major benefit to consumers and will help save lives. In addition, a consistent nationwide standard will bring certainty into the market for furniture manufacturers who sell their products across state lines. 

For these reasons, we urge you to consider issuing guidance to help businesses understand how to comply with the new law without delay.

Click here to read the full letter.

Wicker is an original sponsor of SOFFA, which was enacted into law in December 2020 as the COVID-19 Regulatory Relief and Work From Home Safety Act, Title XXI of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This bill established a national standard for furniture flammability that goes into effect on June 25, 2021. The CPSC is charged with enforcing that standard.