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USGNN Original StoryQuestions Surface Over the Need for Furniture Glass Regulation

With stories and reports about the breakage of glass tabletops surfacing on a near regular basis, Consumer Reports is again questioning why there are currently no regulations over the type of glass that should be used in furniture (CLICK HERE for related story). Three years ago the Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports made a proposal to ASTM International that an industry standard for furniture glass be written. However, little has since surfaced regarding the development of a standard.

While the Glass Association of North America (GANA) has been involved with the development of a number of previous ASTM standards, Greg Carney, GANA technical director, says nothing much has developed from ASTM in regards to a document that would apply to glass furniture.

"At one point there was an [ASTM] effort to write a test procedure for glass in furniture … and supposedly the group was going to get a draft out, but we have not seen anything," said Carney, who explained that he had been expecting to see something on the matter earlier this year.

The discussions have taken place within ASTM Subcommittee F15.42 on Furniture Safety, which reports to Committee F15 on Consumer Products.

"We've attempted to be a part of that subcommittee to investigate what [standards or procedures] would be best for glass used in furniture, but we have seen little to no progress at this time," Carney said.

Len Morrissey, ASTM manager of F15 on Consumer Products, told USGNN.com that his group has been reviewing a draft to cover this topic under Subcommittee F15.42 on Furniture Safety and they anticipate that a first draft will be sent to ballot in January.

According to Consumer Reports, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has also not done anything in regards to regulating furniture glass products. The CPSC did not return calls from USGNN.com for comment.

But for some people in the industry, having a standard for furniture glass brings a concern. Why? Both tempered and laminated glass cost more than annealed glass, and some fear that could keep some furniture manufacturers from using as much glass as they do now (CLICK HERE for related article).

The other side to it all is the fact that the majority of furniture sold in the United States is no longer produced here and is instead imported from other countries, such as China. That means the glass coming in with the furniture was also most likely produced offshore and therefore having a standard for furniture glass produced here would not affect the majority of the U.S. glass fabricators.

CLICK HERE to read a related article from USGlass magazine.

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