Furniture Stability Act Introduced in Congress

The bill would require the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to create a mandatory stability standard for clothing storage.

04/26/2019
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Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth (STURDY) Act of 2019

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth (STURDY) Act of 2019 on April 10, 2019. The bill, H.R. 2211, would require the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to promulgate a mandatory stability standard for clothing storage furniture within one year of the bill’s enactment.

This mandatory standard must include:

  • Stability tests for all clothing storage furniture, regardless of height;
  • Stability tests designed to simulate the weight of children up to 72 months (6 years old); and
  • Stability tests “that more closely simulate real world use,” including tests that account for carpeting, drawers with items in them, and “dynamic force.”

In a statement, the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) said it supports a mandatory stability standard that holds all manufacturers to a rigorous safety standard for clothing storage furniture. AHFA welcomes and supports the CPSC’s recent moves to expedite a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for a mandatory furniture stability standard under Sections 7 and 9 of the Consumer Product Safety Act. AHFA believes CPSC should expend the necessary resources on this effort in 2019-2020 to ensure the goal is met.

STURDY was first introduced in June 2016 by Schakowsky and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). The first version gave ASTM International 180 days to publish a “stronger” voluntary stability standard, which the CPSC could then choose to adopt as mandatory. If ASTM did not publish a voluntary standard deemed “adequate” within the specified time period, the bill required CPSC to issue a final, mandatory standard within about 18 months (540 days) of the bill’s passage. The 114th Congress adjourned in January 2017 with no action on STURDY.

The new version of the legislation introduced directs CPSC to finalize a mandatory safety standard for clothing storage furniture within one year of the bill’s adoption.

Further, it specifies that the mandatory standard must include stability testing for all clothing storage furniture, regardless of height. The current voluntary standard applies to units over 30 inches, but a revision expected to be adopted this summer would reduce the minimum height of covered units to 27 inches.

The 2019 version of STURDY also requires that stability tests in the mandatory standard be designed to simulate the weight of a child up to 72 months of age.

The current voluntary standard, ASTM F2057-17, requires a 50-pound weight to be used in stability testing. This reflects the 95th percentile weight of a child up to 5 years of age (or 60 months). 

Increasing the age range of children covered by the standard from 60 months to 72 months, or up to 6 years of age, would require increasing the test weight to 60 pounds, according to CPSC.

The STURDY Act of 2019 also requires additional product testing to “more closely simulate real world use.” Specifically, the legislation calls for tests that account for the impact of carpeting on clothing storage unit stability, the impact of loaded drawers and the impact of “dynamic force.”

“In order for a mandatory standard to be enforceable, the stability tests must be precise, so every manufacturer is able to conduct the tests exactly the same way,” said AHFA CEO Andy Counts. “Whether a company is located in the United States or overseas, whether they produce low-cost furniture or luxury furniture, everyone must use specified test materials and methods to remove any guesswork and guarantee accurate results.” 

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