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116th Congress }                                            { Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session   }                                            { 116-348

======================================================================


 
               SAFER OCCUPANCY FURNITURE FLAMMABILITY ACT

                                _______
                                

 December 16, 2019.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Pallone, from the Committee on Energy and Commerce, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2647]

    The Committee on Energy and Commerce, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 2647) to adopt a certain California flammability 
standard as a Federal flammability standard to protect against 
the risk of upholstered furniture flammability, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Purpose and Summary..............................................1
 II. Background and Need for the Legislation..........................2
III. Committee Hearings...............................................3
 IV. Committee Consideration..........................................4
  V. Committee Votes..................................................4
 VI. Oversight Findings...............................................5
VII. New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures5
VIII.Federal Mandates Statement.......................................5

 IX. Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............5
  X. Duplication of Federal Programs..................................5
 XI. Committee Cost Estimate..........................................5
XII. Earmarks, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff Benefits......5
XIII.Advisory Committee Statement.....................................5

XIV. Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................6
 XV. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................6
XVI. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............7

                         I. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 2647, the ``Safer Occupancy Furniture Flammability 
Act'' or ``SOFFA'', was introduced on May 9, 2019, by Reps. 
Matsui (D-CA), Griffith (R-VA), Rush (D-IL), and Cardenas (D-
CA) and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. H.R. 
2647 requires the adoption of the California upholstered 
furniture flammability standard known as Technical Bulletin 
117-2013 as a national flammability standard for upholstered 
furniture. Technical Bulletin 117-2013 is an updated standard 
that protects consumers against the risk of upholstered 
furniture fires while omitting previous performance 
requirements that were typically satisfied through the addition 
of flame-retardant chemicals, which have been associated with 
adverse health effects.\1\ Additionally, an existing patchwork 
of regulations across the country currently create a difficult 
and burdensome framework for furniture manufacturers. Adopting 
Technical Bulletin 117-2013 is critical to address such 
patchwork and ensure all consumers enjoy the same fire safety 
protections for upholstered furniture.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Flame-
retardants (www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/flame_retardants/
index.cfm).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                II. BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    According to the latest available report from the Consumer 
Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on residential fire loss 
estimates, upholstered furniture poses a significant fire 
safety risk.\2\ From 2014 to 2016, an estimated annual average 
of 470 deaths were associated with upholstered furniture.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2014-2016 Residential Fire 
Loss Estimates (July 2019) (www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/
2014_to_2016_Residential_Fire_Loss_Estimates07292019.pdf).
    \3\See note 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Since the 1970s, flame-retardant chemicals have been added 
to many consumer and industrial products, including upholstered 
furniture, to reduce their flammability and to slow or prevent 
the start or growth of fire.\4\ Driving the use of flame-
retardant chemicals in upholstered furniture was California's 
original upholstered furniture flammability standard, known as 
Technical Bulletin 117. This standard was introduced in 1975 
and required the concealed filling materials of upholstered 
furniture to withstand an open-flame test and a smolder 
test.\5\ Furniture manufacturers met this standard 
predominantly by using foam treated with flame-retardant 
chemicals. Testing by the CPSC and other independent 
scientists, however, show that flame-retardant chemicals, as 
used in upholstered furniture, provide no meaningful fire 
safety benefit and do not provide a meaningful difference in 
egress time.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\See note 1.
    \5\State of California Bureau of Household Goods and Services, 
Technical Bulletin 117--Residential Upholstered Furniture Standard Fact 
Sheet (bhgs.dca.ca.gov/industry/tb_117_faq_sheet.pdf).
    \6\Consumer Product Safety Commission, Upholstered Furniture Full 
Scale Chair Tests--Open Flame Ignition Results and Analysis (May 9, 
2012) (www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/openflame.pdf); Chicago Tribune, 
Testing shows treated foam offers no safety benefit (May 6, 2012) 
(www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-flames-barriers-20120506-
story.html).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition, while science has yet to establish a causal 
link between all flame retardants and resultant disease, a 
growing body of evidence shows that flame-retardant chemicals 
could elicit adverse health effects. According to the CPSC's 
September 2017 guidance on organohalogen flame retardants 
(OFRs), ``The known adverse health effects of [OFRs] to 
consumers include: Reproductive impairment (e.g., abnormal 
gonadal development, reduced number of ovarian follicles, 
reduced sperm count, increased time to pregnancy); neurological 
effects (e.g., decreased IQ in children, impaired memory, 
learning deficits, altered motor behavior, hyperactivity); 
endocrine disruption and interference with thyroid hormone 
action (potentially contributing to diabetes and obesity); 
genotoxicity; cancer; and immune disorders.''\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\Consumer Product Safety Commission, Guidance Document on 
Hazardous Additive, Non-Polymeric Organohalogen Flame-retardants in 
Certain Consumer Products, 82 Fed. Reg. 45268 (Sept. 28, 2017) 
(Guidance document).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The CPSC's September 2017 guidance also states that human 
exposure to OFRs occurs when flame-retardant chemicals migrate 
out of furniture and into household dust and other surfaces 
where they persist in an indoor environment.\8\ Further, the 
CPSC has been presented with scientific evidence that OFRs, due 
to their inherent physical properties, have also been shown to 
bioaccumulate or build up in people over time because they do 
not easily break down.\9\ Babies and children are more likely 
to be exposed because of their increased hand-to-mouth behavior 
and time spent on the floor.\10\ They may also be particularly 
vulnerable to the toxic effects of these chemicals because 
their bodies are still developing.\11\ At least one study shows 
that firefighters have a greater exposure to flame-retardants 
than the general population.\12\ They may also face additional 
risks due to the unique exposure from the combustion of flame-
retardant chemicals in firefighting settings.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\See note 7.
    \9\See note 1.
    \10\Id.
    \11\Id.
    \12\Susan D. Shaw et al., Persistent organic pollutants including 
polychlorinated and polybrominated dibenzo- p-dioxins and dibenzofurans 
in firefighters from Northern California, Chemosphere (Feb. 2013).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In June 2013, California published an updated standard, 
Technical Bulletin 117-2013, which took effect January 2015. 
This updated standard tests the smolder resistance of cover 
fabrics and the interaction of upholstery components. The new 
standard provides consumers with a greater level of fire 
protection against smoldering sources, the leading ignition 
sources of fires,\13\ and eliminates the unnecessary use of 
flame-retardant chemicals.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\See note 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 2647 is needed to protect all consumers from the risk 
of upholstered furniture fires and to eliminate unnecessary 
consumer exposure to flame-retardant chemicals, which have been 
associated with adverse health effects. Adopting Technical 
Bulletin 117-2013 as the national standard ensures all 
consumers, no matter which state they reside in, enjoy the same 
fire safety protections for upholstered furniture.

                        III. COMMITTEE HEARINGS

    For the purposes of section 103(i) of H. Res. 6 of the 
116th Congress, the following hearings were used to develop or 
consider H.R. 2647:
    The Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce held 
an oversight hearing on June 9, 2019, entitled, ``Protecting 
Americans from Dangerous Products: Is the Consumer Product 
Safety Commission Fulfilling Its Mission?'' The Subcommittee 
received testimony from the following witnesses:
           The Honorable Ann Marie Buerkle, Acting 
        Chairman, Consumer Product Safety Commission;
           The Honorable Elliot F. Kaye, Commissioner, 
        Consumer Product Safety Commission;
           The Honorable Robert S. Adler, Commissioner, 
        Consumer Product Safety Commission;
           The Honorable Dana Baiocco, Commissioner, 
        Consumer Product Safety Commission;
           The Honorable Peter A. Feldman, 
        Commissioner, Consumer Product Safety Commission;
           Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and 
        General Counsel, Consumer Federation of America;
           Nancy Cowles, Executive Director, Kids in 
        Danger; and
           Remington A. Gregg, Counsel for Civil 
        Justice and Consumer Rights, Public Citizen.
    On June 13, 2019, the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection 
and Commerce held a legislative hearing on H.R. 2647, the 
``Safer Occupancy Furniture Flammability Act'', along with six 
other bills. The hearing was entitled, ``Keeping Kids and 
Consumers Safe from Dangerous Products.'' The Subcommittee 
received testimony from the following witnesses:
           Will Wallace, Manager, Home & Products 
        Policy, Consumer Reports;
           Crystal Ellis, Founding Member Parents 
        Against Tip-Overs;
           Chris Parsons President, Minnesota 
        Professional Fire Fighters; and
           Charles A. Samuels, Member, Mintz.

                      IV. COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    H.R. 2647, the ``Safer Occupancy Furniture Flammability 
Act'' or ``SOFFA'', was introduced by Rep. Matsui (D-CA) on May 
9, 2019 and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. 
Subsequently, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on 
Consumer Protection and Commerce on May 10, 2019. Following 
hearings, the Subcommittee met on July 10, 2019, in open markup 
session, pursuant to notice, to consider H.R. 2647. No 
amendments were offered during its consideration and a motion 
by Ms. Schakowsky, Chairwoman of the subcommittee, to forward 
favorably H.R. 2647 to the full Committee, without amendment, 
was agreed to by a voice vote.
    The full Committee met in open markup session on July 17, 
2019, pursuant to notice, to consider H.R. 2647. No amendments 
were offered to the bill and subsequently, a motion by Mr. 
Pallone, Chairman of the committee, to order H.R. 2647 reported 
favorably to the House, without amendment, was agreed to by a 
voice vote, a quorum being present.

                           V. COMMITTEE VOTES

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list each record vote 
on the motion to report legislation and amendments thereto. The 
Committee advises that there were no record votes taken on H.R. 
2647, including a motion by Mr. Pallone ordering H.R. 2647 
reported favorably to the House, without amendment.

                         VI. OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 2(b)(1) 
of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
oversight findings and recommendations of the committee are 
reflected in the descriptive portion of the report.

 VII. NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY, ENTITLEMENT AUTHORITY, AND TAX EXPENDITURES

    Pursuant to 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives, the Committee adopts as its own the 
estimate of new budget authority, entitlement authority, or tax 
expenditures or revenues contained in the cost estimate 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974.
    The Committee has requested by not received from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office a statement as to 
whether this bill contains any new budget authority, credit 
authority, or an increase or decrease in revenues or tax 
expenditures.

                    VIII. FEDERAL MANDATES STATEMENT

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act.

       IX. STATEMENT OF GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general 
performance goal or objective of this legislation is to help 
protect consumers against the risk of upholstered furniture 
fires and to eliminate unnecessary consumer exposure to flame-
retardant chemicals, which have been associated with adverse 
health effects.

                   X. DUPLICATION OF FEDERAL PROGRAMS

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII, no provision of 
H.R. 2647 is known to be duplicative of another Federal 
program, including any program that was included in a report to 
Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 or the 
most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

                      XI. COMMITTEE COST ESTIMATE

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII, the Committee 
adopts as its own the cost estimate prepared by the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

    XII. EARMARKS, LIMITED TAX BENEFITS, AND LIMITED TARIFF BENEFITS

    Pursuant to clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI, the 
Committee finds that H.R. 2647 contains no earmarks, limited 
tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits.

                   XIII. ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

    No advisory committee within the meaning of section 5(b) of 
the Federal Advisory Committee Act was created by this 
legislation.

                XIV. APPLICABILITY TO LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

           XV. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE LEGISLATION

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 designates that the short title may be cited as 
the ``Safer Occupancy Furniture Flammability Act'' or 
``SOFFA''.

Sec. 2. Adoption of California flammability standard as a Federal 
        standard

    Subsection (a) of this section defines terms used 
throughout the bill, including the terms ``bedding product'', 
``California standard'', ``foundation'', ``mattress'', and 
``upholstered furniture''. The term ``California standard'' 
means the standard set forth by the Bureau of Electronic and 
Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation of 
the Department of Consumer Affairs of the State of California 
in Technical Bulletin 117-2013, entitled ``Requirements, Test 
Procedure and Apparatus for Testing the Smolder Resistance of 
Materials Used in Upholstered Furniture.'' The term 
``upholstered furniture'' is defined to mean all seating 
furniture that (1) is intended for indoor use; (2) is movable 
or stationary; (3) is constructed with a contiguous upholstered 
seat and back or arm; (4) is made or sold with a cushion or 
pillow or may be stuffed or filled with any material; and (5) 
can be used to support the body of an individual, or the limbs 
and feet of an individual. The term specifically does not 
include any mattresses, foundations, bedding product, or 
furniture that is used exclusively for the purpose of physical 
fitness and exercise.
    Subsection (b) of this section directs the CPSC to adopt 
the California standard as a flammability standard promulgated 
by the CPSC under section 4 of the Flammable Fabrics Act (15 
U.S.C. 1193) beginning on the date that is 180 days after the 
date of enactment of this Act. This subsection further 
specifies that any fabric, related material, or product to 
which the California standard applies as a result of the new 
promulgated standard shall not be subject to section 14(a) of 
the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2063(a)).
    Subsection (c) of this section specifies that no state or 
political subdivision of a state may establish or continue in 
effect any provision of a flammability law, regulation, code, 
standard, or requirement that is designed to protect against 
the risk of occurrence of fire, or to slow or prevent the 
spread of fire, with respect to upholstered furniture. This 
subsection further clarifies that nothing in this Act or the 
Flammable Fabrics Act may be construed to preempt or otherwise 
affect (1) any State or local law, regulation, code, standard, 
or requirement that concerns health risks associated with 
upholstered furniture and is not designed to protect against 
the risk of occurrence of fire, or to slow or prevent the 
spread of fire, with respect to upholstered furniture; (2) 
sections 1374 through 1374.3 of title 4, California Code of 
Regulations, which specify the adoption of the California 
standard, as well as product labeling requirements; or (3) the 
California standard.

       XVI. CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    There are no changes to existing law made by the bill H.R. 
2647.