BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Kevin de León, Chair AB 127 (Skinner) - Fire safety: fire retardants: building insulation Amended: June 24, 2013 Policy Vote: BP&ED 6-1 Urgency: No Mandate: No Hearing Date: August 12, 2013 Consultant: Marie Liu This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File. Bill Summary: AB 127 would require the State Fire Marshal (SFM) to propose updated insulation flammability standards that maintain fire safety, consider long-term human and ecological health impacts associated with chemical flame retardants, and provide sufficient protection for building occupants and firefighters. Fiscal Impact: One-time costs of $85,000 to the Building Standards Administration Special Revolving Fund (special) for the SFM to develop proposed updated insulation flammability standards. Minor and absorbable cost to the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishing, and Thermal Insulation (bureau) from the Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation Fund (special) consult with the SFM. One-time costs between $65,000 and $130,000 from the Toxic Substances Control Account (General Fund) for Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to determine long-term human and ecological health impacts of chemical fire retardants in insulation. Background: The bureau, with input from the California Energy Commission, the SFM, manufacturers, distributors, and licensed installers, is charged with establishing insulation material standards governing the quality of all insulation material sold or installed in the state, including safety and thermal performance. Any standards adopted relating to insulation material must be submitted to the California Building Standards Commission (BSC) for adoption into state building standards. The SFM is authorized under existing law to develop building AB 127 (Skinner) Page 1 standards relating to fire and panic safety. These standards must be submitted to the BSC for approval. The BSC is responsible for adopting, approving, publishing, and implementing California's building codes under the California Building Standards Law. Proposed Law: This bill would require the SFM, in consultation with the bureau and DTSC, to propose updated insulation flammability standards that take into consideration long-term human and ecological health impacts associated with chemical flame retardants while ensuring overall building fire safety and adequate protection for building occupants and any firefighters who may be present during a fire. The updated standards would be required to be completed by July 1, 2015. Staff Comments: The SFM would need approximately need half a PY to conduct the research necessary to propose updated insulation flammability standards. These costs could potentially increase should the SFM find it necessary to conduct physical testing of building materials. The bureau would likely have minor and absorbable costs to consult with the SFM on the insulation flammability standards assuming data sharing with the SFM. DTSC would require additional staffing to determine long-term human and ecological health impacts associated with chemical flame retardants. The workload would result in costs between $65,000 and $130,000 depending on whether DTSC was relying on existing, readily available information or not. Using existing data would keep costs on the lower end of the range.