US CPSC Refuses Flammability Testing Exemption for Spandex

Top Quote The US CPSC has released a briefing package that outlines its refusal to exempt spandex-containing textiles from flammability testing requirements under 16 CFR part 1610. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) October 30, 2020 - The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has concluded an exemption from flammability testing for spandex-containing products was not justified.

    The decision was published on September 30, 2020, in “Briefing Package – Status Update: 16 CFR Part 1610 Rule Update and Final Action for Exempting Spandex from Testing.” The CPSC had issued a Request for Information (RFI) in April 2019 relating to the possible exemption of spandex from testing under the Standard for the Flammability of Clothing Textiles in 16 CFR 1610. A list of exempted fibers is contained in 16 CFR part 1610.1(d). The exemption had been requested by industry members.

    The Briefing Package details the CPSC’s conclusion that the spandex data provided during the RFI did not provide a sufficient body of results to justify this exemption. Some research had even suggested that spandex may increase the burning behavior of fabrics. The CPSC therefore decided against the exemption at the current time.

    Based on comments received via the RFI, the CPSC is recommending testing to identify potential alternatives to update equipment and procedures in the standard that are no longer available or need clarifying, and the pursuing of rulemaking to propose updates. The CPSC also recommends additional testing and analysis to determine appropriate updates for the stop thread, refurbishing, and test code requirements. Depending on the results of these studies, a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) may be issued in the future to update these requirements.

    • Stop Thread – the stop thread requirements have generated confusion about the appropriate thread to use and the thread CPSC has used, which complies with the standard, is no longer identifiable on the market. Accordingly, clarification and the updating the requirements would provide greater consistency in testing and results
    • Refurbishing (laundering and dry-cleaning) – the required refurbishing equipment, including dry-cleaning solvent and washing machines, have limited availability, or are being phased out; so suitable replacements should be identified that are readily available
    • Burn Code Clarification – the test result codes for raised surface fabrics are unclear, and need to be clarified for industry members to use properly and effectively

    16 CFR 1610 applies to all clothing textiles and fabrics used or intended for use as clothing textiles. It aims to reduce the risk of injury or death by prohibiting the use of dangerously flammable clothing textiles. It includes testing requirements, establishes three classes of flammability, sets out the criteria for classifying textiles, and prohibits the use of textiles that exhibit rapid and intense burning. Certain fabrics are exempted from testing under the standard based upon consistently acceptable results that do not exhibit rapid and intense burning behaviours when tested in accordance with the standard.

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    For further information contact:

    Louann Spirito
    Consumer and Retail — Softlines
    US & Canada Softlines Business Head
    Tel: +1 973 461 7919
    Email: ( @ ) sgs dot com
    LinkedIn: sgs-consumer-goods-&-retail

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