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California Senate Rejects Proposed Effort to Weaken Fire Safety Standards
Date:8/27/2008

Defeat of AB 706 Opens Door for Efforts to Create Sensible Fire Safety

Legislation

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- A majority of courageous California legislators have voted to maintain California's tough fire standards by striking down proposed fire retardant ban AB 706. The defeat presents an excellent opportunity for the development of sensible legislation to address fire safety regulations in the state. The bill would have proposed the replacement of the current California TB 117 open-flame standard with a standard that is yet to be developed. And left the safety of Californians up to bureaucrats in Washington D.C.

Citizens for Fire Safety (CFFSI), a national fire safety advocacy group, mobilized fire professionals, medical and community leaders to oppose this legislation that threatened to compromise the fire standard that has caused California's fire-related injuries and deaths to decrease by over 50% in the past 10 years.

"Fire retardants do make the difference between life and death. As a firefighter, I see how fire retardants are an effective life-saving tool. They increase the time it takes for fires to build in intensity and increase the escape time for people near the fire," said retired Fire Captain, Greg Lindfeldt.

Proponents of the bill had mischaracterized the benefits and risks of these fire safety tools and focused on a campaign based on flawed science and raising unjustified fears about the safety of these products. In a recent open flame test of fire retardants, done by a premier research organization, and paid for by CFFSI, two similar couches -- one with the current California-required standard and protections and one without -- were burned in a controlled environment. The couch without the California mandated fire protections ignited in seconds, the couch that was treated with safe and effective fire retardants barely smoldered. Video of the couch burn, and copies of the study, can found at http://www.cffsi.org

California has long been the "gold standard" in flammability standards known with TB 117 leading the way. The standard requires an open-flame test and applies to most furniture sold in our state. AB 706 threatened to replace the standard with one that does not require an open-flame test and applies only to cover fabrics. AB 706 overlooked fire sources such as candles, lighters, and matches, and would not cover foam cushions and filling which have consistently been shown to be the most flammable components of furniture.

This victory for the communities of California means that California's fire safety standards will remain high, protecting the citizens of California from unnecessary fire injury and property damage.

For more information on this issue, please visit http://www.cffsi.org.


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SOURCE Citizens for Fire Safety
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