Vol. 1076 | 24 Apr 2019

On April 23, 2019, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) published a notice in the Federal Register requesting information for possible exemption of spandex from the testing requirements of the Standard for the Flammability of Clothing Textiles – 16 CFR 1610. This request for information by the CPSC is to seek input from regulated stakeholders about ways to reduce the burden and costs associated with existing regulations, while still protecting the consumer from the risks of injury or death.

The CPSC is specifically requesting information and data that would help it determine whether spandex “consistently yields acceptable results when tested in accordance with the Standard” and can be added to the list of exempt fibers in 16 CFR 1610.1(d). The CPSC is specifically interested in test data from testing a range of fabric constructions, fabric weights, and fiber blends. For example, it will be helpful to CPSC staff to receive testing data about following fabrics:

  1. plain surface fabrics with spandex blended with one or a combination of the exempted fibers listed in 16 CFR 1610.1(d)(2) weighing less than 2.6 ounces per square yard, and
  2. raised surface fabrics, regardless of weight, that contain spandex with one or a combination of the exempted fibers listed in 16 CFR 1610.1(d)(2).

In addition, the CPSC is also requesting information about the cost associated with testing spandex in above fabrics.

Following are other possible changes to the 16 CFR 1610 standard being considered:

  • Stop Thread: The Standard in section 16 CFR 1610.5(a)(2)(ii) provides specification of the stop thread that shall be used for testing. The CPSC staff is aware that the stop thread may have limited availability or that the numbering specified in the standard may be outdated. So the CPSC is requesting comments about the specifications of the stop thread and thread availability. What procedures are used to confirm the thread meets the specifications?
  • Refurbishing (laundering and dry-cleaning):
    • Dry-cleaning: As part of the dry-cleaning procedure, the solvent perchloroethylene is required in 16 CFR 1610.6(b)(1)(i). The CPSC staff is aware of the limited availability of, and legal restrictions on the use of, perchloroethylene solvent. The CPSC is requesting comments on the testing burden or cost of performing the dry-cleaning procedure with perchloroethylene solvent and also potential alternative solvents that may be used.
    • Laundering: Section 1610.6(b)(1)(ii) requires samples to be washed and dried in accordance with American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) Test Method 124-2006. The CPSC staff is aware of the limited availability of automatic washing machines, and possibly dryers, capable of meeting the conditions in AATCC 124-2006. The CPSC is requesting comments on the testing burden or cost of performing the laundering procedure with the automatic washing machine and tumble dryer specified in the standard, and potential alternatives.
  • Burning behavior codes: The standard lists reporting codes in 16 CFR 1610.8(b)(2) to describe the burning behavior of raised surface fabrics. The CPSC staff has received information that these codes may be confusing. Hence, the CPSC is requesting comments on the use or needed clarification of these codes.
  • Any other opportunities to reduce testing cost associated with 16 CFR 1610

Notice can be reviewed at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-04-23/pdf/2019-08140.pdf

The deadline for submitting comments is June 24, 2019.

For questions, please contact Stella Li (xingyu.li@intertek.com, +1-503-351-9612) or Pratik Ichhaporia (pratik.ichhaporia@intertek.com, +1-847-212-8273)


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