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Articles by Valerie Pacino

Valerie Pacino is a Sightline intern, a Master of Public Health student, and a hopeful couch potato.

Featured Article

Photo: Arlen

Photo by S. F. Pitman.

Cross-posted from Sightline.

Eureka! In a legislative dogfight of global significance, the California legislature will consider a bill this spring to modernize the “12-second rule,” the state’s obscure furniture flammability standard that fails to protect us from fires even while it poisons homes across North America.

Late last month, Rep. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) introduced AB 2197 [PDF], a bill that will bring California’s flammability standard into line with 35 years of independent fire safety science and 20 years of research by the U.S. government.

California’s furniture market is so big that manufacturers treat the 12-second rule as a North American standard — they don’t want to make two different product lines. “The entire world is watching California to see if we will act to prevent continuing global contamination from chemicals used to meet [the 12-second rule],” writes the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Sarah Janssen.

The 12-second rule relies on an open flame ignition standard — furniture foam cannot ignite when exposed to an open flame... Read more