Background

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a final rule that, effective approximately April 22, 2024, will amend the standard for the flammability of clothing textiles to clarify existing provisions, expand permissible equipment and materials, and update equipment requirements.

The Flammable Fabrics Act prohibits the importation, manufacture for sale, or sale in commerce of any fabric or article of wearing apparel that is so highly flammable as to be dangerous when worn by individuals. The CPSC uses a test first codified as a standard in 1975 (in 16 CFR Part 1610) and since amended several times to determine if fabric meets this criterion. This standard includes test equipment, materials, and procedures for testing the flammability of clothing textiles and applies to all items of clothing and fabrics intended to be used for clothing (with certain exclusions).

Testing under this standard determines the classification of the textile. Class 1 textiles exhibit normal flammability and are acceptable for use in clothing, Class 2 textiles exhibit intermediate flammability and may be used for clothing, and Class 3 textiles exhibit rapid and intense burning, are dangerously flammable, and are not permitted for clothing. The criteria for each classification differ for plain surface textile fabrics and raised surface textile fabrics.

The CPSC states that the new amendments do not alter the testing or criteria in the standard for determining the flammability of a fabric or whether it is permissible for use in clothing. Instead, they facilitate accurate testing and classifications by making the following changes.

- clarifying and streamlining provisions regarding test result codes (burn codes), which help determine the classification of a textile and whether it may be used for clothing

- revising the stop thread specification, which indicates the thread that must be used in flammability testing, because threads matching the current description are no longer readily available

- revising refurbishing requirements, which address dry cleaning and laundering specimens during the testing process, due to increasing restrictions on the use of the dry cleaning solvent currently specified and the fact that washing machines that meet the existing specifications are no longer made

For more information on trade-related issues affecting textiles and apparel, please contact ST&R’s textile and apparel practice leader Elise Shibles at (415) 490-1403 or via email

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