CPSC staff completes review of ASTM F2057-23, says commission could determine it meets requirements of STURDY

WASHINGTON — The staff of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has completed its review of the recently published safety standard for clothing storage units and has told commissioners that they could determine that it meets the requirements of the STURDY Act signed into law by President Biden in late December.

If the commission agrees with this assessment by a vote planned for March 28, then staff recommends that this standard, also known as ASTM F2057-23, be published as the final safety standard for clothing storage units. This also would stay the implementation of the CPSC’s mandatory tip-over requirement that takes effect May 24.

The completion of the staff review is a major development in what has been one of the most disruptive issues affecting the case goods industry in recent years.

While the industry has been working to meet the May 24 deadline for the CPSC standard, many instead support STURDY, saying the legislation meets the objective of protecting children from tip-over accidents with much more consistently achievable testing results.

The staff review also follows a significant campaign of letter writing and other communications between the industry, parent groups and elected officials that have worked together to support STURDY, which stands for Stop Tip-Overs of Risky Dressers on Youth.  This legislation requires the CPSC to determine whether a voluntary standard exists that meets the requirements of STURDY.

According to the legislation, if such a voluntary standard exists that meets the requirements of STURDY to protect children up to 72 months old from injury or death due to tip-overs, then the commission must promulgate a final safety standard that adopts that standard within 90 days. That voluntary standard is ASTM F2057-23, which was published Feb. 6, well within the 60 days of STURDY’s enactment in late December.

Absent significant public comment, the CPSC said that a final rule that adopts the performance requirements of F2057-23 would take effect for clothing storage units manufactured 120 days after publication in the Federal Register. The Federal Register document also would stay implementation of the CPSC standard, meaning it would not take effect May 24.

A commissioner vote is scheduled for March 28.

Industry officials that have communicated with Home News Now following the release of the information were pleased with this latest development.

“Today’s news from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announcing the staff’s favorable review of ASTM International F2057-23 as the mandatory safety standard required under the STURDY Act is welcome news for industry, safety advocates, parents, and consumers,” Andy Counts, CEO of the American Home Furnishings Alliance, shared with Home News Now. “All of these stakeholders worked collaboratively over the last three months to urge CPSC to take this action in the interest of child safety. We appeal to the commissioners to adopt ASTM F2057-23 in place of the current CPSC rule that was scheduled to take effect on May 24.”

“Companies that have dedicated untold resources over the last 20 months to redesigning and re-engineering products in anticipation of the May 24 implementation of the CPSC’s original rule have not worked in vain,” he added. “If the Commission takes the recommended action, product modifications will still be necessary. The stringent performance requirements in F2057-23 include three unambiguous pass/fail tests that CPSC staff has determined meet all specifications outlined in STURDY.”

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at tom@homenewsnow.com and at 336-508-4616.

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