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flammability

 
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Marija Mikolajczak
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:09 pm    Post subject: flammability Reply with quote

What am I missing here?

This document (pdf) from CPSC Requirements for Clothing Textiles, 16 C.F.R. Part 1610 says that
Quote:
You cannot use Class 3 textiles in clothing. Fabrics likely to be classified as Class 2 or Class 3 textiles include sheer rayon or silk, rayon chenille, reverse fleece or sherpa of cotton or cotton blend, and certain cotton terry cloth.

And of course, I am asking because I want to use a couple of these (cotton fleece and cotton sherpa as an absorbant material in some training pants for babies/toddlers). The fabric sales rep told me the fabric "should fall into Class 2 or 3".

It seems like I'm missing something that may be totally obvious. But am I supposed to buy samples of fabric, build a fabric burning "test cabinet" and figure out if they are class 2 or 3? I certainly don't feel qualified to do that.
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Esther
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fabrics that need flammability testing need to be sent to a testing lab. Sometimes the fabric supplier will send you copies of their test reports, but not always.
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Marija Mikolajczak
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The manufacturer is responding that they have been in business over 10 years and have *never* been asked before if the fabric is Class 2 or Class 3.

So, what am I missing here? Are manufacturers doing their own testing? Or is everyone ignoring the law? Or am I reading the document incorrectly?

I was told they can test the fabric for me and it will cost $120.
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sfriedberg
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marija Mikolajczak wrote:
what am I missing here? Are manufacturers doing their own testing? Or is everyone ignoring the law?
It's possible that very large (well organized) manufacturers either do their own testing or have their supply chain do it. But I suspect that the vast majority of garment manufacturers are ignorant of the regulation. (I wasn't aware of it, myself, only of the additional restrictions for children's clothing.)

However, the class of fabrics exempt from testing is very broad:
1) Any plain surface (e.g., smooth) fabric weighing more than 2.6 ounces per square yard.
2) Any fabric made entirely from (some combination of) acrylic, modacrylic, nylon, olefin, polyester, and wool fibers.
So a very large proportion of garments won't have issues.

What is worrisome that Liberty lawn cottons, China silk, and many similar lightweight fabrics are not exempt, are not routinely treated with fire retardant, are likely to fall in the prohibited Class 3, and are routinely sewn into garments.

Quote:
I was told they can test the fabric for me and it will cost $120.
That's a pretty reasonable lab fee.
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Marija Mikolajczak
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Sfriedberg,

It just doesn't make sense to me that there's this rule that class 3 fabrics cannot be used for clothing and a major fabric manufacturer has never been asked about it in over ten years.

I decided to re-read the entire document and I did find a sentence that gives me a much better picture for my own needs.
"Most hats, gloves,
footwear, and fabrics used between the linings and
outer fabrics of garments are not required to meet this
standard."

Since I can easily use the fabric as a hidden inner layer, I have a clear way around it so I guess I don't need to worry.
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Esther
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What is worrisome that Liberty lawn cottons, China silk, and many similar lightweight fabrics are not exempt, are not routinely treated with fire retardant, are likely to fall in the prohibited Class 3, and are routinely sewn into garments.


This has been a concern of mine for a long time. And I love those fabrics as much as the next person. It would be interesting to know if there has been any risk analysis on this issue, which I suspect there isn't. Still the original research that the regs are based on do have merit.
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