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Flame Retardant Chemicals

Flame Retardant Chemicals in Upholstered Furniture, Mattresses, and Electronic Enclosures

Flame retardants are a class of chemicals added to furniture, mattresses, electronics, and other products that are intended to help prevent the start of fire or slow the spread of fire. However, many flame retardants are associated with adverse health effects in animals and humans, with children being particularly susceptible. Flame retardant chemicals are also difficult to break down, meaning they can remain persistent in the environment or a home for years.

To address these concerns, New York State enacted the Family and Fire Fighter Protection Act on December 31, 2021. The act adds a new Title 10 to Article 37 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), Regulation of Chemicals in Upholstered Furniture, Mattresses and Electronic Enclosures (link leaves DEC website). This law prohibits the use of certain flame retardant chemicals in these products and requires annual reporting for organohalogen flame retardants used in electronic display stands and enclosures, as described below.

Products and Chemicals Covered by the Law

The law applies to "covered flame retardant chemicals" in upholstered furniture and mattresses, which includes the following types of flame retardant chemicals:

  1. halogenated,
  2. organophosphorus,
  3. organonitrogen, and
  4. nanoscale flame retardants.

The law also applies to "organohalogen flame retardant chemicals" in the stands and enclosures of electronic displays. Definitions for each product category and the chemicals covered by the law can be found in Article 37, Title 10 of the ECL (Link leaves DEC's website).

Annual Reporting for Electronic Display Manufacturers

By December 31, 2022, manufacturers of electronic displays who sell their products in the State must report the presence of organohalogen flame retardants in the enclosures or stands of their electronic displays. The Department will be sharing more information on this reporting requirement with affected stakeholders.

Manufacturers of upholstered furniture and mattresses and custom upholsterers are not subject to this reporting requirement at this time.

Flame Retardant Chemical Restrictions

Effective December 1, 2024, the sale or offering for sale of upholstered furniture and mattresses with the covered flame retardant chemicals identified in ECL 37-1001, subdivision 2, that are at or above levels set by the Department in regulation, or intentionally added, will be prohibited in New York State.

Effective December 1, 2025, custom upholsterers in New York State cannot repair, reupholster, re-cover, restore, or renew upholstered furniture or reupholstered furniture using replacement components with the covered flame retardant chemicals identified in ECL 37-1001, subdivision 2, that are at or above levels set by the Department in regulation or intentionally added.

Effective December 1, 2024, the sale or offering for sale of electronic displays containing organohalogen flame retardant chemicals in the enclosure or stand that are at or above levels set by the Department in regulation or intentionally added, will be prohibited in New York State.

The law does not apply to the sale of used furniture or mattresses. DEC will develop additional details on the implementation of the flame retardant chemical restrictions and will share that information with affected stakeholders.

Outreach Information

DEC is in the process of developing a new program to help implement portions of this law. If the agency proposes a new policy or rule, there will be a formal public comment period.

Questions or comments can be sent to FlameRetardants@dec.ny.gov


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