Maine recently enacted a ground-breaking law on banning the sale of residential upholstered furniture containing flame retardant chemicals1. Beginning 1 January 2019 (i.e. effective date), a person may not sell, offer to sell or distribute upholstered furniture containing more than 0.1% of any flame retardants in its fabric, covering or cushioning materials. Flame retardants include, but not limited to, halogenated, phosphorus-based, nitrogen-based, and nanoscale flame retardant chemicals.
The law provides exemption for used upholstered furniture and upholstered furniture for public use. New upholstered furniture containing restricted flame retardants that were purchased or acquired by the retailer or wholesaler before the effective date can still be sold or distributed until stocks run out.
On 1 August 2017, the governor Paul R. LePage returned the bill unsigned and vetoed2 back to the legislature because it could lead to consumers in Maine having to pay higher prices for furniture and will certainly disrupt interstate commerce. This bill also bypasses the scientific review process which is provided to multiple state agencies in current law. However, the Maine Legislature overrode the governor’s veto and passed into law notwithstanding the objections. The law also directs the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)3 to implement the ban by developing a product labelling, sampling and registration programs.