Industry Guide to Canadian Requirements for Carpets and Other Textile Floor Coverings

Table of Contents

Preface

This document provides information about the safety requirements that apply under the Hazardous Products (Carpet) Regulations to textile floor coverings manufactured, imported, advertised or sold in Canada.

The intent of this document is to:

  • explain the flammability and labelling requirements for textile floor coverings
  • describe the test methods for determining the flammability of textile floor coverings

This document is an unofficial summary of the safety requirements for textile floor coverings under the Hazardous Products (Carpet) Regulations. It is not intended to substitute for, supersede or limit the requirements under the applicable legislation. In case of any discrepancy between this summary and the legislation, the legislation will prevail. For further information, contact a Health Canada Consumer Product Safety Office via email (cps-spc@hc-sc.gc.ca) or telephone at 1-866-662-0666 (toll-free within Canada and the United States).

To obtain information on the legislative requirements for textile floor coverings not covered in this document, refer to the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and its Regulations listed under Appendix A - Information Resources.

This document may be updated from time to time. For the most recent version, consult Health Canada's website.

Legislation

In addition to the product-specific requirements noted in this document, it is prohibited to manufacture, import, advertise or sell any consumer product that is a "danger to human health or safety" as defined in the CCPSA (see paragraphs 7(a) and 8(a)).

The onus is on industry to comply with the legislation.

The Consumer Product Safety Program administers and enforces the CCPSA and the regulations made under it. Enforcement actions taken by Product Safety Officers on noncompliant products depend on the degree of hazard associated with noncompliance, and include commitment to product correction by industry, negotiation with industry for the voluntary removal of these products from the market, seizure and/or prosecution under the CCPSA. Any person that manufactures, imports, advertises, or sells noncompliant products that result in property damage, injury or death may also be subject to legal liability.

Textile floor coverings manufactured, imported, advertised or sold in Canada are subject to the CCPSA and the Hazardous Products (Carpet) Regulations.

  • Item 29 of Part II of Schedule I to the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) sets out flammability requirements for textile floor coverings that have not been treated with a fire retardant.
  • Item 30 of Part II of Schedule I to the HPA sets out flammability requirements for textile floor coverings that have been treated with a fire retardant.
  • Labelling requirements for textile floor coverings that do not comply with the flammability requirements are set out in the Hazardous Products (Carpet) Regulations.

Textile floor coverings include carpets, carpeting, carpet tiles, mats, matting and rugs that are made in whole or in part of textile fibres.

One-of-a-kind textile floor coverings and oriental rugs are exempted.

Textile floor coverings do not include resilient floor coverings such as linoleum and vinyl tile, underlay, skins and hides, or wall hangings and tapestries that are not intended for use on floors.

The fire hazard associated with ignition of a textile floor covering depends not only on its flammability, but on its ability to spread a fire to other materials that can burn.

  • Textile floor coverings that cover a large indoor floor area (such as broadloom, large carpets or carpet tiles) have a high ability to spread a fire.They must comply with the flammability requirements.
  • Textile floor coverings that cover a small indoor floor area (such as small rugs or mats) and textile floor coverings for outdoor use, regardless of size, present a lesser fire hazard. They must comply with the flammability requirements OR if they do not comply with the flammability requirements, they must comply with the labelling requirements.

Flammability Requirements and Test Methods

A textile floor covering consisting of 48 specimens, each measuring not less than 23 cm × 23 cm (9" × 9"), must be tested in accordance with the normal sequential sampling plan set out in the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) 4-GP-155 (1974), Standard for Flammability of Soft Floor Coverings - Sampling Plans, and the flame resistance test method set out in CGSB 4-GP-2 (1971), Method 27.6 of the Canadian Standard Textile Test Methods, Method of Test for Flame Resistance - Methenamine Tablet Test. A textile floor covering that has been treated with a fire retardant must also be subject to removal of the fire retardant finish prior to being tested for flame resistance, using the method set out in CGSB 4-GP-2 (1971), Method 30.2 of the Canadian Standard Textile Test Methods, Procedure for the Removal of Flame Retardant Treatments on Textile Floor Coverings.

To obtain a copy of the Test method for Evaluating Textile Floor Coverings for Flame Resistance (F-04) email Health Canada at cps-spc@hc-sc.gc.ca.

In brief, 48 specimens are cut from the textile floor covering and, where applicable, the fire retardant finish is removed. The specimens are then conditioned, dried and brought to room temperature. A randomly selected specimen is placed horizontally in a test chamber in a draft free environment and a steel frame is placed on top of the specimen. A methenamine tablet is placed in the centre of the specimen and lit. After all combustion has ceased, the shortest distance between the charred area of the specimen and the inside edge of the frame is measured.

A specimen passes if the shortest distance between the charred area of the specimen and the inside edge of the frame is greater than 25.4 mm (1"), and fails if the distance is less than or equal to 25.4 mm (1").

A minimum of 10 specimens to a maximum of 48 specimens are tested to determine whether a textile floor covering passes (is accepted) or fails (is rejected), in accordance with the sampling plan in Appendix III of Method F-04, which is reproduced in part below. A pass signifies that the textile floor covering complies with the flammability requirements.
Tablet test Number of specimens tested Cumulative number of specimens tested ACCEPT
if cumulative number of specimen failures equals or is less than
CONTINUE TESTING
if cumulative number of specimen failures is in this range
REJECT
if cumulative number of specimen failures equals or exceeds
1st set 10 10 0 1-10 --
2nd set 3 13 1 2-13 --
3rd set 3 16 2 3-15 16
4th set 3 19 3 4-15 16
5th set 3 22 4 5-15
6th set 3 25 5  
7th set 3 28  
8th set 3  

The flammability of a textile floor covering is difficult to predict because it depends on a variety of factors such as fibre content, yarn construction, dyes and finishes. For example, textile floor coverings made of highly flammable fibres such as cotton or jute do not necessarily fail, whereas textile floor coverings made of less flammable fibres such as acrylic do not always pass. Textile floor coverings made of a blend of two or more fibres generally display flammability characteristics that are different from those of the individual fibres, and some blends may be more flammable than each fibre.

The flammability of a textile floor covering must be confirmed by testing.

Labelling Requirements

The labelling requirements set out in the Hazardous Products (Carpet) Regulations depend on the textile floor covering's flammability, size (large or small) and location of use (indoor or outdoor), as outlined below. For the purpose of this section, the following definitions apply.

A large textile floor covering has a surface area greater than 2.16 m2 (24 ft2) or a linear dimension greater than 1.8 m (6 ft).This definition includes carpet tiles.

A small textile floor covering has a surface area less than or equal to 2.16 m2 (24 ft2) and all linear dimensions are less than or equal to 1.8 m (6 ft).

  • Large textile floor coverings (including carpet tiles) for indoor use

    These must comply with the flammability requirements to be advertised, sold or imported into Canada.There are no labelling requirements.

  • Small textile floor coverings (for indoor and/or outdoor use)

    If these comply with the flammability requirements, they can be advertised, sold or imported into Canada.There are no labelling requirements.

    If these do not comply with the flammability requirements, they can be advertised or sold in Canada if they are labelled with the following statement in English and French, as per section 4 of the Hazardous Products (Carpet) Regulations:

    • Caution - Flammable - Do not use in locations exposed to open flame or sources of intense heat.
    • Attention - Inflammable - Tenir éloigné de la flamme ou d'une source de chaleur intense.

    The label must be clearly and prominently displayed to the consumer at the time of purchase, as per sections 6 and 7 of the Hazardous Products (Carpet) Regulations.

    A small textile floor covering that does not comply with the flammability requirements may be imported into Canada without the required labelling provided that it is labelled as required before being advertised or sold, as per section 8 of the Hazardous Products (Carpet) Regulations.

  • Large textile floor coverings (including carpet tiles) for outdoor use

    If these comply with the flammability requirements, they can be advertised, sold or imported into Canada. There are no labelling requirements.

    If these do not comply with the flammability requirements, they can be advertised or sold in Canada if they are labelled with the following statement in English and French, as per section 5 of the Hazardous Products (Carpet) Regulations:

    • Caution - Flammable - Do not use in locations exposed to open flame or sources of intense heat. Do not use indoors.
    • Attention - Inflammable - Tenir éloigné de la flamme ou d'une source de chaleur intense. Ne pas utiliser à l'intérieur.

    The label must be clearly and prominently displayed to the consumer at the time of purchase, as per sections 6 and 7 of the Hazardous Products (Carpet) Regulations.

    A textile floor covering for outdoor use that does not comply with the flammability requirements may be imported into Canada without the required labelling provided that it is labelled as required before being advertised or sold, as per section 8 of the Hazardous Products (Carpet) Regulations.

    Large textile floor coverings (including carpet tiles) for both indoor and outdoor use must satisfy the requirements for large textile floor coverings for indoor use.

Labelling of textile floor coverings to show the presence of a fire retardant is not required.

Labelling to show or imply compliance with the flammability requirements is not permitted.

Figure 1: Summary of Flammability and Labelling Requirements for Textile Floor Coverings

Figure 1: Summary of Flammability and Labelling Requirements for Textile Floor Coverings. The figure illustrates the process for determining flammability and labelling requirements for textile floor coverings in Canada. The first question asked: Does the textile floor covering comply with the Hazardous Products Act (HPA) flammability requirement? If yes, it can be advertised, sold or imported into Canada. If the answer is no, the next question that must be answered is: Does it have a surface area > 2.16  m2 (24 ft2) or a linear dimension > 1.8 m (6  ft) OR is it a carpet tile? If the answer to this second question is yes and the textile floor covering is for indoor use, it cannot be advertised, sold or imported into Canada. Alternatively, if the answer is yes and the textile floor covering is for outdoor use, it must be labelled as per sections 5, 6 and 7 of the Hazardous Products (Carpet) Regulations. If the answer to the second question is no then it must be labelled as per sections 4, 6 and 7 of the Hazardous Products (Carpet) Regulations.

Figure 1: Summary of Flammability and Labelling Requirements for Textile Floor Coverings

Indoor Air Quality ("Green Label") Carpet Testing Program

Appendix A - Information Resources

NOTICE: For further information visit the resources below or contact a Health Canada Consumer Product Safety Office via email (cps-spc@hc-sc.gc.ca) or telephone at 1-866-662-0666 (toll-free within Canada and the United States).

To obtain a copy of the Test method for evaluation textile floor coverings for flame resistance (F04), email Health Canada at cps-spc@hc-sc.gc.ca.

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