Federal law requires that carpets and rugs comply with flammability standards and with additional requirements, including those of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).
Manufacturers and importers of carpets and rugs intended for general use must certify in a General Conformity Certificate (GCC) that the carpets and rugs comply with the applicable standard after the carpets and rugs have been subjected to testing or a reasonable testing program to ensure compliance and/or are properly labeled in accordance with the standard.
Manufacturers and importers of carpets and rugs designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger must certify in a Children's Product Certificate (CPC) that the carpets and rugs comply with the applicable standard and the additional requirements after the carpets and rugs have been tested for compliance at a CPSC-accepted, third party laboratory.
These requirements are discussed below and at www.cpsc.gov/BusinessEducation.
What is a carpet or rug?
- A carpet or rug (large) is a finished fabric or similar product intended to be used as a floor covering and has dimensions of more than 6 feet long and an area greater than 24 ft2. This definition also includes “carpet squares” intended to be installed in dimensions of more than 6 feet long and an area greater than 24 ft2. This definition excludes resilient floor coverings, such as linoleum and vinyl tile.
- A small carpet or rug is the same as the definition above but has no dimension more than 6 feet long and an area not greater than 24 ft2.
What is the purpose of the standards for carpets and rugs?
These standards reduce the risks of death, personal injury, and property damage associated with fires that result from the ignition of carpets and rugs. The standards provide a test to determine the surface flammability of carpets and rugs when exposed to a small ignition source.
Where can I find the requirements for the surface flammability of carpets and rugs?
The Standard for the Surface Flammability of Carpets and Rugs can be found at 16 CFR Part 1630. The Standard for the Surface Flammability of Small Carpets and Rugs can be found at 16 CFR Part 1631.
What are the requirements for carpets and rugs?
All carpets and rugs manufactured, imported, or sold in the United States must meet the flammability (acceptance) criterion of the standards. Small carpets and rugs not meeting the standard may be manufactured, imported, or sold in the United States, provided they are permanently labeled with the following statement: FLAMMABLE (FAILS U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE STANDARD FF 2-70): SHOULD NOT BE USED NEAR SOURCES OF IGNITION
How do you test for surface flammability?
This test consists of exposing eight 9″ x 9″ conditioned specimens to a timed burning tablet in a specified test chamber.
The apparatus and test materials required to conduct the test are specified in 16 CFR §§ 1630.4(a) and 1631.4(a).
In summary, each specimen is placed in the center of the floor of the test chamber, traffic side up. Place the flattening frame on the specimen, and position a methenamine-timed burning tablet on one of its flat sides in the center of the 8″ flattening frame hole. Ignite the top of the tablet by touching it with a lighted match, lighter, or other equivalent flame source. Allow test to continue until:
- all flames and glowing disappear, or
- the flaming or smoldering has gone to within 1″ of the flattening frame.
What is the test criterion and acceptance criterion?
A single specimen meets the test criterion if the charred portion of the tested specimen is not within 1.0″ of the edge of the hole in the flattening frame.
Acceptance criterion – at least 7 of the 8 replicate specimens of a given carpet and rug must meet the individual specimen test criterion in order to conform to this standard.
Are there any requirements for labeling?
Yes, if the carpet or rug has had a fire-retardant treatment or is made of fibers that have had a fire-retardant treatment, it must be labeled with the letter “T.” The letter “T” should be legible and conspicuous on the label and/or invoice or other paper related to the carpet and rug, if commercially installed.
Small carpets and rugs not meeting the acceptance criterion of the standard must be permanently labeled with the following statement: FLAMMABLE (FAILS U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE STANDARD FF 2-70): SHOULD NOT BE USED NEAR SOURCES OF IGNITION.
Are there any special requirements for some types of carpets and rugs?
Yes, carpets and rugs treated with a fire retardant or made from fire-retardant materials are to be washed or laundered 10 times using the methods required in the standard.
The laundering requirement for large carpets and rugs that use alumina trihydrate, a fire retardant in adhesives, foams, or latexes in carpet backings or elsewhere in the backings, is currently suspended.
Shearling or hide carpets and rugs that consist of natural wool or hair attached to the hide with no synthetic fibers and that have been treated with a fire retardant may use an alternative wash procedure as specified in the standards at 16 CFR § 1630.61 or 16 CFR § 1631.61. Shearling and hide carpets and rugs using this alternative procedure must also be labeled with a conspicuous, legible, and permanent label containing the statements in 16 CFR §1630.61(c) or 16 CFR §1631.61(c).
Wool flokati carpets and rugs may use an alternative wash procedure as specified in the standard at 16 CFR § 1630.62 or 16 CFR § 1631.62. Wool flokati carpets and rugs using this alternative procedure must also be labeled with a conspicuous, legible, and permanent label containing the statements at 16 CFR §1630.62(c) or 16 CFR §1631.62(c).
What are the requirements for issuing a guaranty to a retailer or distributor?
Reasonable and representative tests must be conducted to issue a guaranty to a retailer or distributor. Each line/style of carpets or rugs (that are identical in all respects, including such things as dye class, dyestuff, and dying application method) must have at least one test conducted at the beginning of production, importation, or receipt of the first 25,000 linear yards and one test for every additional 50,000 linear yards.
If a guaranty is issued, the person issuing the guaranty must maintain specific records to support the guaranty, as described in 16 CFR § 1630.31(g) or 16 CFR § 1631.31(g).
What are the additional requirements for carpets and rugs required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008?
Carpets and rugs designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger (“children’s carpets and rugs”) are subject to additional requirements pursuant to the CPSIA, including surface coating requirements, lead and phthalate content limits, testing and certification, and tracking label requirements. These requirements are discussed below:
Surface Coating Limit: Children’s carpets and rugs may not be painted with paint that contains more than 0.009 percent lead.
Lead Content Limit: Children’s carpets and rugs cannot contain greater than 100 ppm (0.01 percent) of total lead content in any accessible component part.
Testing and Certification: Carpets and rugs for adults and children over age 12 require a General Certificate of Conformity (GCC). A GCC is a document that certifies, based on a test of each product or a reasonable testing program, that the product complies with all applicable statutes, regulations, rules, bans, or standards under any law enforced by the Commission. A GCC is required for small rugs and carpets permanently labeled in accordance with the standard.
Children’s carpets and rugs, like all products that are designed or intended primarily intended for children 12 years of age or younger, must be tested by an accredited and CPSC-accepted third party conformity assessment body for compliance with other applicable children’s product safety rules. Based on that testing, a domestic manufacturer (or importer) of children’s carpets and rugs must issue a Children's Product Certificate (CPC) indicating that the product complies with those rules.
Tracking Labels: Children’s carpets and rugs must have a tracking label or other distinguishing permanent mark. The tracking label shall be a permanent distinguishing mark on the product and its packaging, to the extent practicable, and must contain certain basic information, including the source of the product, the date of manufacture, and cohort information, such as a batch or run number.
Where can I find additional information?
For more information on the requirements for carpets and rugs, contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Office of Compliance (for specific enforcement inquires): e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone: (301) 504-7520.
- Small Business Ombudsman (for general assistance understanding and complying with CPSC regulations): e-mail: Please use our Contact Form, which is the best way to get a fast response; telephone: (888) 531-9070.