(1) When tested for flammability, a small number of textile products exhibit variability in the test results; that is, even though they may exhibit Class 1 or Class 2 burning characteristics in one test, a third test may result in a Class 3 failure. Violative products that the Commission has discovered between 1994 and 1998 include sheer 100% rayon skirts and scarves; sheer 100% silk scarves; 100% rayon chenille sweaters; rayon/nylon chenille and long hair sweaters; polyester/cotton and 100% cotton fleece/sherpa garments, and 100% cotton terry cloth robes. Between August 1994 and August 1998, there have been 21 recalls of such dangerously flammable clothing, and six retailers have paid civil penalties to settle Commission staff allegations that they knowingly sold garments that violated the general wearing apparel standard.
(2) The violations and resulting recalls and civil penalties demonstrate the critical necessity for manufacturers, distributors, importers, and retailers to evaluate, prior to sale, the flammability of garments made from the materials described above, or to seek appropriate guaranties that assure that the garments comply. Because of the likelihood of variable flammability in the small group of textiles identified above, one test is insufficient to assure reasonably that these products comply with the flammability standards. Rather, a person seeking to evaluate garments made of such materials should assure that the program tests a sufficient number of samples to provide adequate assurance that such textile products comply with the general wearing apparel standard. The number of samples to be tested, and the corresponding degree of confidence that products tested will comply, are to be specified by the individual designing the test program. However, in assessing the reasonableness of a test program, the Commission staff will specifically consider the degree of confidence that the program provides.