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CPSC Chair Address AHFA Board

By Home Furnishings Business in on May 24, 2013

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Inez Tenenbaum told furniture manufacturers this week to "aim for the highest level of safety" in their designs to minimize health and safety risks to consumers.

Tenenbaum addressed members of the American Home Furnishings Alliance board of directors during the group's May meeting in Arlington, Va. The annual event includes visits with key legislators on Capitol Hill.

Tenenbaum recalled visiting several furniture factories and showrooms at AHFA's invitation in 2011. "To see the manufacturing process from start to finish provided me with valuable insights," she said.

Those insights are helping to inform the CPSC's work toward a mandatory flammability standard for upholstered furniture. "Throughout my tenure as chairman, I have made it clear that we are committed to developing an upholstered furniture standard that does not require the use of harmful chemicals," she said.

"I want to see progress on this rule this year and want all stakeholders, including all of you, to stay engaged with CPSC as we move forward," she told the AHFA directors.

Tenenbaum thanked Bill Perdue, AHFA vice president for his leadership of the ASTM subcommittee on furniture safety and commended the committee for its work on updating the furniture tip-over standard. 

"I hope that each of you - whether you make adult furniture, children's furniture, or both - will use all of the communication tools at your disposal to encourage your customers to anchor their furniture and televisions," she said.

Tenenbaum concluded her remarks by explaining the CPSC's concept of "safety by design." 

"As I have travelled around the United States and the world, I have shared with companies that it is vital to design out potential health and safety risks in each and every model - before manufacturing and assembly even starts," she said. In the residential furniture industry, that means ensuring that products are made without lead, cadmium, antimony, chromium and other toxic metals. 

"I believe that safety by design - which includes meeting current standards and anticipating and preventing new hazards - can be a winning approach for all industries to incorporate," Tenenbaum said.

In addition to the CPSC Chairman, the AHFA Board was addressed by Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Kay Hagan (D-NC), as well as Representatives Lee Terry (R-NE) and Alan Nunnelee (R-MS).

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