A new nationwide standard for upholstered furniture flammability was signed into law on December 27, 2020 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which includes the COVID–19 Regulatory Relief And Work From Home Safety Act. This legislation embraces the California Technical Bulletin (TB 117-2013) for testing the smolder resistance of materials used in upholstered furniture. The California standard has been mandatory in that state since 2015, so the standard should already be on the compliance radar for most national retailers.
TB 117-2013 is intended to assess the flammability of upholstered furniture when exposed to a smoldering cigarette, a common cause of residential fires. TB 117-2013 requires different tests for outer fabric, inner linings, and filling material that simulate a discarded, lit cigarette. Each material is required to survive for an extended period without creating flames or overly smoldering or charring. The previous version of the TB 117 standard also required an open flame test, which had been criticized for forcing manufacturers to use flame retardant chemicals.