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Bedding to fall within flammability standards

Home textiles suppliers and retailers must be aware that filled bedding products — mattress pads, pillows and comforters — will be among the consumer products that must comform to government flammability standards at one level of government or another.

This was the view of three key speakers who came here last week to update the home textiles industry under the auspices of the Home Fashion Products Association.

While the first deadline for legal rules will be in California by January 2004 for mattresses, that state's legislation, all the speakers agreed, also mandates regulation if top-of-bed textiles are found to contribute to mattress fires. The consensus is that it is not clear as to the date for bedding.

One of the challenges, said Patty Adair, assistant vp, textile products and standards, American Textile Manufacturers Institute is that there are no standards yet developed for bed clothing. The National Institute of Standards & Technology currently is conducting research on bed clothes, she added, with results scheduled for publication January 2003.

In addition, she noted, the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) has developed a potential federal flammability bill that she said will be sent to Congress at the beginning of the new session. In it, the NASFM will petition the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on the filled bedding issue.

Gordon Damant, a former California Bureau of Home Furnishings official, and now with the Down & Feather Testing Lab and the International Sleep Products Safety Council, described an array of testing procedures that are under development but that haven't been adopted for universal use.

Allyson Tenney, textile technologist for CPSC, said, "We are trying to better understand the residential market and the magnitude of the hazard."

Before CPSC moves ahead, "we must determine the feasability of regulations, the economic impact on small business and the environmental and technical feasability."

This first full-dressed overview by experts involved at various levels of industry and government drew a scant 20 companies from the home textiles industry.

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