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Safety & Codes | October 1, 2013 | By:

Industry experts and the California State Fire Marshal work to update flammability document.

The California State Fire Marshal (CSFM) is updating its textile flammability document, Title 19, for the first time since 1993. A change to the pass/fail for the small-scale test was drafted in 1993 and has been used by the industry ever since, but it had not been vetted through the CSFM’s official process.

A revision draft was prepared by a working group comprised of CSFM staff and industry members in 2008-09. The CSFM has created a Flame Retardant Advisory Committee to analyze this draft and make any changes before it is submitted for public comment. It was emphasized that this Flame Retardant Advisory Committee serves in an advisory capacity only; the CSFM has authority over final changes.

At the August meeting, the following items were changed, and will be included in the revised draft that will be submitted to the CSFM:

  • Article 9 of the California Title 19 regulation was approved with exceptions to 1307, 1310, 1331 by the Flame Retardant Advisory Committee.
  • CFSM staff announced that they decided to adopt PSI units of measurement as the primary units for the document, which are referred to in section 1331, Test Standards, and other parts of the regulation.
  • In addition, the language “not less than” was stricken from section 1331, since most lab technicians test samples that are 3½ inches by 10 inches and it was agreed that the language left room for error.
  • In section 1331c, Large Scale Test, the sample size was changed from a 7-foot sample to a 5-by-4-foot sample, because the 4-foot sample meets the necessary requirements for the test, and 7-foot samples could not be accommodated by most of the testing laboratories.

Re-treating fabrics after laundering, from section 1310e, was discussed, since it is not necessary to test fabrics after they have already passed the small scale test that included weathering and leaching. It was agreed that re-testing fabrics was not necessary and that an exception should be added to section e to address the issue. CSFM staff agreed to look at rewording the section.

Additional changes regarding language used were discussed and will be addressed at future meetings. The timeline for completion of the new version of California Title 19 is yet to be determined.

The CSFM Flame Retardant Advisory Committee roster, meeting announcements and minutes are available from the Office of the California State Fire Marshal.

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