The Consumer Product Safety Commission is proposing to amend the standard for the flammability of clothing textiles to clarify existing provisions, expand permissible equipment and materials, and update equipment requirements. Comments on this proposal are due no later than Nov. 14.

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 proposed amendments would reduce burdens for testing laboratories by clarifying existing requirements and updating the specifications for stop thread, dry cleaning, and laundering to include options that are identifiable, permissible for use, and currently available on the market. It would also improve the consistency and reliability of flammability testing results and classifications.

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 emailClick here to register for ST&R’s upcoming webinar on Chapter 98 duty savings for textiles and apparel.

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