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As advised previously, revision work has been underway to strengthen the requirements for window coverings within the United States. The 2018 version of the ANSI/WCMA A100.1 standard has now been officially published by ANSI and brings about substantial changes to window blinds sold within the US.
Over the years, the Window Covering Manufacturer’s Association (WCMA) has continued to make updates to the ANSI/WCMA A100.1 industry standard for corded window coverings. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), consumer advocates, and other safety groups have continued to push, wanting more stringent requirements for window coverings. This was being done with the hopes of potentially eliminating the strangulation risk that certain corded window coverings have posed to young children. A previous update to the standard strengthened the requirements for the inner cords; however, the operating cords have not had a significant requirement change for a long time.
The new standard revision now separates window blinds into one of two classifications: stock product or custom product. Product that is classified as a stock window covering will now have to utilize a cordless operating system, a “short cord”, or have operating cords that are made inaccessible. Custom product can also utilize one of these same options for compliance, but in addition, custom product also have the existing corded operating systems allowances which have been present in the previous version of the standard. The WCMA estimates that 80 percent of all window covering products sold in the U.S. & Canada are considered to be stock product, therefore, this operating system requirement change will have a significant impact on reducing the danger presented by operating cords.
As specified, custom products can still utilize corded options, however, the new version of the standard specifies some default requirements that should be adhered to if corded operating systems are used. These default requirements specify an operating cord length of 40% of the window covering height, and for products that can tilt or rotate the default is to utilize a tilt wand rather than tilt cords.
In addition, the warning tags required by the standard have undergone a significant change. The new standard now reduces the variation across different hang tags that used to be utilized for different operating systems. Also the warnings now utilize a new pictogram providing a more graphic depiction of the strangulation hazard.
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