U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT
Office of Compliance
for Clothing Textiles,
16 C.F.R. Part 1610
This document is a simple summary of the clothing
textile requirements and does not replace the requirements published
in 16 C.F.R. Parts 1610.
The summary does not include all of the details included in
those requirements. For those details, please refer
to the regulation or contact the Office of Compliance.
What is the
purpose of the general wearing
apparel flammability standards?
The purpose of this regulation is to keep dangerously
flammable textiles and garments made of these textiles
out of commerce. The standard provides methods of
testing the flammability of clothing and textiles
intended to be used for clothing by classifying fabrics
into 3 classes of flammability based on their speed of
burning. This minimum standard specifies that Class 3,
textiles, the most dangerously flammable fabrics, are
unsuitable for use in clothing because of their rapid
and intense burning.
Where can I
find the requirements for clothing
The regulations are published in the Code of
in Title 16, Part 1610.
What is considered
Wearing apparel includes any costume or article
of clothing that people
wear. The standard applies to all
textiles used in adult and children's wearing apparel.
Most children's sleepwear must also meet more
stringent flammability requirements. Most hats, gloves,
footwear, and fabrics used between the linings and
outer fabrics of garments are not required to meet this
How do you test
fabrics or garments to ensure
that they comply with the flammability standard?
Because of the detail in the regulation, the
following is a general
overview of the testing requirements. For
more detailed information about the test equipment and
procedure, selecting specimens, and other
requirements, please refer to the regulation or contact
the Office of Compliance.
Five specimens measuring 2-inches by 6-inches are
used for each test. The specimens are tested before
and after dry cleaning and washing. The specimens
are mounted in a specimen holder and placed in the
test cabinet as specified in the regulations.
Textiles with raised fiber surfaces, such as chenille,
fleece, and terry cloth are brushed prior to testing.
After specimens are conditioned (oven dried and
desiccator cooled), each specimen is placed in the test
cabinet at a 45 angle. The lower surface of the
specimen (not the edge) is exposed to a gas flame for
one second. The specimen is allowed to burn upward
until the flame burns through the stop cord releasing
the weight and stopping the timer or extinguishes.
To arrive at the time of flame spread, average the times
at which the timer stopped for all five specimens. If
that time is less than 3.5 seconds for plain surface
fabrics or less than 4 seconds for fabrics with a raised
fiber surface, or if the specimens do not burn at all,
or if only one specimen
has a burn time, test a second
sample of five specimens. When a second sample is
tested, the time of flame spread is the average of the
times for all 10 specimens tested.
The regulation establishes three classes of
flammability based on the time of flame spread.
(1) Class 1 textiles have a flame spread time
of 3.5 seconds or more
for plain surface fabrics, of more
than 7 seconds for raised surface fabrics, or 0-7
seconds for raised surface fabrics with no ignition
or melting of the base fabric (generally when the
fuzzy surface fibers of raised fiber fabrics exhibit
a "surface flash"). Class 1 textiles exhibit
and are acceptable for use in
(2) Class 2 applies only to fabrics with raised
fiber surfaces. Class
2 textiles have a flame spread time
from 4 to 7 seconds inclusive, and a base fabric
that ignites or melts. These fabrics exhibit
intermediate flammability, and may be used in
clothing. However, you should use caution when
you make garments from Class 2 fabrics because
the characteristics of those fabrics can cause
their flammability test results to vary.
(3) Class 3 textiles have a flame spread time
of less than 3.5 seconds
for smooth plain surface fabrics,
and less than 4 seconds for raised surface fabrics
with a base fabric that melts or burns from other
than the igniting flame. Class 3 textiles exhibit
rapid and intense burning and are dangerously
flammable. You cannot use Class 3 textiles in
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.
consistently meet the requirements
of this standard?
Years of flammability testing has shown that
the following fabrics
consistently pass as Class 1 textiles
and are exempt from the reasonable and representative
testing requirements for firms issuing a flammability
guaranty on these fabrics:
(1) plain surface fabrics, regardless of fiber
content, weighing 2.6
ounces per square yard or more; and
(2) all fabrics (both plain surface and raised-fiber
surface) regardless of weight, made entirely from
any of the following fibers or entirely from a
combination of these fibers: acrylic, modacrylic,
nylon, olefin, polyester, and wool.
How can garment
distributors, or retailers be sure that the fabrics
or garments they sell are not dangerously
(1) You can purchase fabrics or garments made
from the exempt fabrics
(2) You can conduct reasonable and representative
testing yourself on fabric (before cutting and
sewing it into garments) or on finished garments,
(3) You can purchase fabrics or garments from
a supplier who issues
a guarantee that they comply
with these flammability requirements. To issue a
guarantee, a supplier must conduct reasonable and
representative tests on each item that the
guarantee covers, and must maintain records of
the tests that support the guarantee (except for
exempt fabrics listed above). Please refer to the
regulation for more detailed information on
guarantees and record keeping requirements. We
recommend that anyone relying on a guarantee
take steps to confirm that the supplier issuing the
guarantee has in fact tested the guaranteed
product, and also to confirm periodically that
appropriate testing continues.
Are there any
other requirements for wearing
Yes. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has
labeling laws that apply to wearing apparel. Contact
the FTC at http://www.ftc.gov
for more information.
Where can I
find additional Information?
You can obtain the Standard for the Flammability
of Clothing Textiles,
16 C.F.R. Part 1610, from the
Commission's Web Site at: http://www.cpsc.gov.
For more information
on the requirements for clothing
textiles contact the Consumer Product Safety
Commission, Office of Compliance, Washington, D.C.
20207, telephone: (301) 504-7913, e-mail: